Friday, April 14, 2006

Man on Fire

2005, US, directed by Tony Scott

A fearsome revenge flick, Man on Fire is a little like Death Wish for the new millennium, with Denzel Washington as a bloody righter of wrongs. He plays Creasy, a washed-up ex-military security professional whose love affair with the bottle has affected his employment prospects. Down in Mexico, an old friend (Christopher Walken enjoying the good life) sets him up with a job as a bodyguard for the daughter of a young businessman. The daughter, Pita, is played by the precocious Dakota Fanning, who steals pretty much the entire movie despite the presence of Washington, some exceedingly overwrought camerawork, and an arsenal of high-powered weaponry. After a tranquil set-up during which we wonder if Creasy might finally have found peace, Pita is, inevitably, kidnapped and Creasy goes on the rampage to ensure that everyone associated with her abduction pays an appropriately gruesome price, sowing havoc on the streets of Mexico City. The film motors along swiftly enough, particularly once the gunplay starts, but the attempts to portray Creasy as some kind of noble samurai are less than convincing. Washington doesn't do a whole lot apart from looking tired; the noise and chaos around him are, indeed, quite wearing.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States