Title: Man on Fire Director: Tony Scott Year: 2004 Run time: 2hrs 26m
“Hard-drinking, burnt-out ex-CIA operative John Creasy (Denzel Washington) has given up on life–until his friend Rayburn (Academy Award winner Christopher Walken) gets him a job as a bodyguard to nine-year-old Pita Ramos (Dakota Fanning). Bit by bit, Creasy begins to reclaim his soul, but when Pita is kidnapped, Creasy unleashes a firestorm of apocalyptic vengeance against everyone responsible.”
1:56 - Tony and Denzel, how have I not seen this before? 6:50 - How to make the lighting of a match dramatic. 8:40 - “Nothing’s going to happen,” he says, at the start of a two hour movie. 13:54 - I like that the bird is called Bird. 19:16 - Really worried about that kid. Knows far too much and voluntarily asked for floss. 27:54 - Playing with guns when you’re drinking doesn’t seem smart. 36:44 - I need a Denzel at my swim sessions. 41:01 - “No such thing as tough, there’s trained and there’s untrained.” 44:49 - Patron Saint of Lost Causes. Bit rude. 48:43 - Sitting on the bench doesn’t really count as walking the dog. 52:42 - Knew the kidnap was coming, it’s still brutal though. 1:04:48 - Must be weird to wake up in hospital the first time, and then somewhere totally random second time. 1:08:13 - Lois Lane! 1:21:42 - The use of text in this is very good. 1:25:23 - He’s using her pencil! Bless. 1:33:41 - They hear gunshots, they just cheer louder! So weird. 1:40:44 - “Forgiveness is between them and god. It’s my job to arrange the meeting.” 1:47:50 - Saying you’re a professional doesn’t seem like an excuse for anything. 1:50:58 - The bright green bug taxis are cute. 1:59:56 - Brave lady. 2:14:16 - He’s really lost the bad-ass walk since he got shot in the chest. Again.
There was a lot of pressure on this film’s shoulders, as we’d endured two out of the last three movies being absolute train wrecks. Precious time and money wasted on silly movies, so instead we put our faith in Tony Scott and Denzel Washington - a fantastic pairing that should never be doubted.
The film was brilliant, great story, very intense, but not over the top in terms of action shoot-outs and suchlike. Occasionally a little gory but in context it was okay. Great acting, and it was good following the strands of the crime back to their source, watching Denzel work his horrifying magic. Dakota was also brilliant, precocious without being annoying, which is a hard trick for a kid to pull off.
My only complaint was that I felt the jaggedy, flickery, out of focus sequences were over-used. They definitely added to the story in places, but then sometimes I was just wishing for a bit of straight-forward viewing. That aside, top notch film-making.