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Movie Review: Man On Fire (2004)

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Man on Fire is an action-packed remake of a 1987 film based on a novel by A.J. Quinnell. It gives us a sense of how the bond between people affects how they can react in certain situations. The movie is set in Mexico City where kidnappings are a frequent occurrence — in the beginning of the movie, we're told that in Latin America a kidnapping happens every 60 minutes.

Denzel Washington plays John Creasy, a former CIA agent hired by a wealthy family as a bodyguard to their young daughter, played by Dakota Fanning. Creasy and the young girl form a close bond that is broken when she is kidnapped and Creasy wounded in the process. The second part of the movie is where all the action begins. Creasy goes on a revenge killing spree in order to find her.

I can’t see anybody else playing the role of John Creasy besides Denzel Washington. Washington brings a strong screen presence as he has done in such movies as Glory, Malcolm X, Crimson Tide, and Training Day. Tony Scott, who has also directed such films as Spy Game, Enemy of the State, and Top Gun, brings his creative touch to the film. This isn’t the first time these two have worked together; Crimson Tide was their first collaboration in 1995.

Denzel Washington is probably my favorite actor of all time. I haven’t seen a movie yet that I didn’t like him in. This movie is one of those films that I consider to be a top five Denzel flick. The movie starts off slowly though and gives a good introduction to the relationship between Creasy and the young girl. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Creasy tracks down one of the men associated with the kidnapping. The scene is pretty intense, involving the man and a small time bomb. Another favorite scene is when Creasy teaches the young girl how to be a better swimmer and you can see the close bond that they are building.

Though the movie was very good, it is pretty long and starts off slowly. Some parts are a little hard to follow, like the relationship between the reporter and the police detective. Seeing that I’ve watched this movie more than once, there were some things I didn’t catch the first time. Another thing I'm not fond of is the picture quality. There are a lot of shaky camera scenes that are hard to follow.

If you liked other Denzel Washington or Tony Scott films, then this is a must see movie for you. If you're a fan of the Death Wish series then you’ll also like this movie. It’s a guy’s guy movie with a plot. If you’re a person who enjoys movies that involve revenge, then you should see this movie. Please don’t get this movie confused with Death Wish even though it is similar. This movie has a better story line. It’s Denzel at his finest!

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