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A man should be set on fire in this movie and *hint* he's behind the scenes. Man on Fire review.


Man on Fire (2004)

Tony Scott has been taken off the cool director list. Sure, he should have been taken off the list ages ago, but we were giving him the benefit of the doubt because 1993’s “True Romance” is on his resume. “Man on Fire” could have been pretty cool, even with Denzel Washington as the lead, but fails thanks to poor direction.

The story follows a damaged man, Creasy (Washington), who is hired by Samuel (Marc Anthony) and Lisa (Radha Mitchell) protect their young daughter. Creasy isn’t being paid very much for the job. And you get what you pay for when things start to go wrong. Creasy is shown a glimpse that life can actually be worth living by Pita (Dakota Fanning). When she is kidnapped and held for ransom, Creasy decides he has to do what he does - and slam some heads into cars* to get to the truth.

Denzel does a good job as a damaged man floating through life as a bodyguard. Dakota succeeds in being equally charismatic and believable. The rest of the cast does a good job and Christopher Walken is always fun to watch.

Tony, Tony, Tony. You need to pop five volumes before heading off to shoot something. Then you need to stay out of the editing room and let an old man edit your stuff. With this recipe we can avoid having yet another seizure inducing attempt at directing. Tony, we get it: you think you’re hip and energetic. But try directing movies based on what the movie requires and not your lame attempt at banning all epileptics from watching your movies for health concerns.

“Man on Fire” is worth watching because the story, based on the novel by A.J. Quinnell, is solid (screenplay by Brian Helgeland) and well-acted. But the soundtrack/score and editing are a frantic mess that only hurts the movie.

*Heads + cars reference is a fictitious example to give you a sense of what happens. Actual footage is much more drastic, but not REALLY drastic.




Directed by: Tony Scott
Screenplay by: Brian Helgeland
Novel by: A.J. Quinnell
Cast: Denzel Washington, Radha Mitchell, Dakota Fanning, Marc Anthony

Source of the Bitter: JAS

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