JT Film Review

41 – Man On Fire (2004)

Man On Fire REVIEW

4/5 stars

Director – Tony Scott

Cast – Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Mark Anthony, Christopher Walken, Mickey Rourke


man_on_fireMan on Fire, a remake of 1987’s Scott Glen vehicle of the same name, stars Denzel Washington as the titular pissed off guy, John Creasy. This is an angry, pent up movie; it builds up and up until about two thrids way through, when it explodes into a fury of explosions, gun fire and revenge killings. Dakota Fanning (one of the best actresss around, let alone child actors) plays the young girl, Pita, whom Creasy is hired to protect. She is kidnapped, and he finds himself forced to confront his demons and go after her, dealing with corrupt cops and druggies the whole way, until he must find the head of the Mexico City crime ring himself.

The movie is very good when it is good, but tends to bog down a bit when it vears off track to sideplots of Creasy’s life. Both Denzel and Dakota put in amazing performances here, among the best they have either done. Their chemistry is pitch perfect as well. One scene in particular (where Pita “accuses” Creasy of smiling and they then see who can keep a straight face the longest) was totally improvised, and is extremely touching.

The violence in the movie is extremely visceral, and in a lesser movie it would overwhelm the dramatic elements of the storyline. However Tony Scott (despite what other faults his movies may be said to have) is always pretty good at keeping the story up front; and this is no exeption. The violence adds to Creasy’s motive, and portrays his emotional state. There are also some very quotanle lines in here; Chrisopher Walken has a great line when talking about his friend man on fire 2Creasy: “A man can be an artist… in anything, food, whatever. It depends on how good he is at it. Creasey’s art is death. He’s about to paint his masterpiece.”

A fine collection of stars appear here; Dakota Fanning, Denzel Washington, Christopher Walken, Mickey Rourke, and Marc Anthony are all very good. Despite how it seems to have been marketed, it is quite a character driven movie.


This is quite a good revenge flick; it is more character driven than normal and even though Tony Scott’s streaky editing style is used all throughout it it does not overwhelm the story. It may be a bit long but it keeps you interested if you are willing to put in the time to watch it. Recommended, but not for uneasy stomachs.



“Man on Fire” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia



August 30, 2009 - Posted by | 4 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Thriller, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , ,

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