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Sales Rank: 3,054
Actors: Denzel Washington, Christopher Walken, Dakota Fanning, Marc Anthony, Radha Mitchell Director: Tony Scott Rating: Features: Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Widescreen, NTSC Number of Discs: 1 Running Time: 146 minutes Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 Release Date: September 14, 2004 Theatrical Release Date: April 23, 2004 Studio: 20th Century Fox
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Hard-drinking, burnt-out ex-CIA operative John Creasy Washington has given up on life--until his friend Rayburn Oscar 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.
Style trumps substance in Man on Fire, a slick, brooding reunion of Crimson Tide star Denzel Washington and director Tony Scott. The ominous, crime-ridden setting is Mexico City, where a dour, alcoholic warrior with a mysterious Black Ops past Washington seeks redemption as the devoted bodyguard of a lovable 9-year-old girl the precociously gifted Dakota Fanning, then responds with predictable fury when she is kidnapped. Prolific screenwriter Brian Helgeland Mystic River, L.A. Confidential sets a solid emotional foundation for Washington's tormented character, and Scott's stylistic excess compensates for a distended plot that's both repellently violent and viscerally absorbing. Among Scott's more distracting techniques is the use of free-roaming, comic-bookish subtitles... even when they're unnecessary! Adapted from a novel by A.J. Quinnell and previously filmed as a 1987 vehicle for Scott Glenn, Man on Fire is roughly on par with Scott's similar 1990 film Revenge, efficiently satisfying Washington's incendiary bloodlust under a heavy blanket of humid, doom-laden atmosphere. --Jeff Shannon