Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation | Release Date: April 23, 2004
8.9
USER SCORE
Universal acclaim based on 322 Ratings
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291
Mixed:
24
Negative:
7
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4
Tss5078Feb 24, 2013
This was a good story, and they could have done so much more with it. I found this movie to be quite slow and boring. The character development is terrible, a lot of the acting is poor, and the cinematography, just makes things that much moreThis was a good story, and they could have done so much more with it. I found this movie to be quite slow and boring. The character development is terrible, a lot of the acting is poor, and the cinematography, just makes things that much more confusing. I love Denzel Washington and when he teams with Tony Scott, it's usually magic, but they missed the mark in a big way on this one. Expand
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5
SpangleNov 30, 2013
As always, Denzel Washington delivers, but where this movie fails is in the direction. The jarring effects shown at times is a major turn off and leaves the viewer wondering if it is worth it to go on. However, for an action movie, it isAs always, Denzel Washington delivers, but where this movie fails is in the direction. The jarring effects shown at times is a major turn off and leaves the viewer wondering if it is worth it to go on. However, for an action movie, it is pretty good and provides some good thrills and suspense along the way. Sure, it's not a cinematic masterpiece, but it's still entertaining and overly criticized by the critics. Expand
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5
CineAutoctonoJul 25, 2015
Should give a little contribution , knowing that Denzel Washington Dakota Fanning nanny is not fair , but it was a good movie plot , criticism is a fickle mother.
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6
YorkManApr 12, 2016
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Capable action/thriller based on the 1980 novel of the same name which was originally given a film treatment in 1987.
Denzel Washington stars as John Creasy, a washed up and out of work, ex-military specialist whose background is somewhat shrouded in mystery. A borderline alcoholic, he approaches an old army buddy Paul Rayburn (Christopher Walken) who suggests he tout himself as a bodyguard in Mexico via his security firm. Creasy is reluctant, but understands he doesn't have any other real options for employment.
Creasy is taken on the Ramos family. Husband Samuel (Marc Anthony), wife Lisa (Radha Mitchell) and their 9 year old daughter Guadalupe 'Pita' (Dakota Fanning).

Creasy struggles to find his place, having led a solitary life for so long and having also fought against suicidal thoughts. His drinking and overt recklessness causes Samuel and Lisa to question their choice of hiring him. However, because his job is bodyguard to Pita, Creasy finds himself becoming more and more like a surrogate father, especially as Samuel is away a lot of the time on business. This manifests itself not just with the strengthening bond between Pita and himself, but Lisa (seeing that bond growing) begins to develop romantic feelings for Creasy that lead to an awkward moment where she makes a pass at him.

Creasy begins to rediscover his own soul through Pita's unwavering belief in him, but also through helping Pita overcome the fears and anxieties she has within her own life.
This culminates in Pita winning a swimming competition due to Creasy's training methods, which help Pita to understand her shortcomings, but also that improvement comes from dedication to achieving goals.

Creasy takes Pita to meet Paul and his Mexican wife, sharing stories and enjoying the moment. Pita gives Creasy a necklace with an image of St. Jude, the Patron Saint of Lost Causes, as she explains it to him.
However, throughout this narrative, during the various car journeys that Creasy and Pita have had to take, there's been suspicious activity from a group of men in a white car, a car which Creasy and Pita have made a point of noticing.

Things come to a head when, after a music lesson, Pita is abducted off the streets by a group of armed men, seemingly aided by the Police who had cordoned off the street at both ends. This is confirmed when two of the men Creasy takes out in the ensuing shoot-out are identified as cops.
Creasy ends up being looked after in an animal hospital, now a wanted fugitive and cop killer. Paul arrives and explains that the abductors have demanded a $10 million dollar ransom, and Samuel will pay this from the insurance money he'll receive.
Things don't quite go according to plan however, and Paul returns a few days later to announce that someone ambushed the 'drop'. More bullets and more death, except this time one of the victims was a close relative of the leader of the abductors... With the money stolen, and a death of a family member, the abductors announce they've killed Pita as a warning to others who might try to rip them off in the future.

Creasy takes it upon himself to seek revenge. With the help of Mariana Guerrero (Rachel Ticotin), a local reporter, he tracks down one of the men responsible after finding Pita had noted down the license plate of the white car in her journal.
Mariana uses her sexual relationship with local AFI officer Miguel Manzano (Giancarlo Giannini) to obtain the information Creasy needs, but also to make sure that Creasy gets a fair run at the bad guys without any interference.
It's revealed, by Paul in a short conversation with Miguel, that Creasy is not a man to mess around with. That the people who abducted Pita, and anyone else involved via association, will undoubtedly end up dead. Paul explains that Creasy will deliver more 'justice' in a couple of days than the corrupt judicial/political/policing system could in 10 years......

Man on Fire is a good, solid thriller. But it's let down by several things.

For every good acting performance (Washington, Fanning and Walken are all phenomenal), there's a mediocre to just plain terrible one (Mitchell, in particular, is completely unbelievable in her role).
Beyond that there's the camerawork. Like a lot of action films shot during the immediate aftermath of The Matrix trilogy, there's an almost insane amount of 'shaky-cam'. I know it's supposed to give the impression of something being filmed 'live action', but it makes certain scenes in the film unintentionally nauseating.
Add to this a running time of nearly 2 and a half hours(!!), which is at least 45 minutes too long, and you've got a bloated film that sags immensely during the 'set up', but it is (just about) paid off by Washington going into full on Grim Reaper mode!

Ultimately, it's one of those films which has some truly great moments, moments people talk about during film discussions down at the pub. But overall, it's nothing that special.

Hence the rating of 6 out of 10.
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5
EpicLadySpongeJun 29, 2016
Man on Fire isn't the best Denzel Washington movie I've ever seen, but it does give that guy an effort for at least trying. Watch if you want, but don't expect much anyways.
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