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Man On Fire

and don't forget...no more movies with Tom Cruise, okay?

R

Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning

Creasy: Okay, my friend, it’s off to the next life for you.  I guarantee you won’t be lonely.

In Mexico City, Creasy (Washington) is hired to protect a little girl, Pita (Fanning), from a recent rash of kidnappings.  After a bond develops between the two, Pita is kidnapped and Creasy is critically wounded.  He survives and swears vengeance on those that took Pita.

There’s a lot to like about this movie, but I feel I would have liked it more if it hadn’t been edited in such a hyperkinetic way.  I wanted the movie to linger on the great scenes between Washington and Fanning, but instead it would cut away to something else after just a few moments.  To me, fast paced editing like that is something you use to punch up a movie with a dull story or poor actors, but this movie has a good story and good acting.  The director, Tony Scott, should have let the actors and story be up front rather than the crazy editing.

That being said, it’s still fun to watch the interactions between Creasy and Pita as he allows himself to open up to her.  It’s not exactly original, but it works because the actors are good and likable.  In fact, it really is the actors that propel the whole thing.  Radha Mitchell is also good as Pita’s mother, and Christopher Walken makes a few appearances throughout the movie, which is always a plus.

I’m not usually a big fan of revenge movies, where the bad guys get their comeuppance in all sorts of horrible ways, but I liked this movie more than usual because I liked the whole personal turmoil Creasy is going through in the movie.  He has a vague, obviously troubling, history (involving lots of killing) that we just get hints of.  Getting to know Pita, and forming a bond with her, had allowed him to put a lot of that life out of his mind, but when she’s taken away, it’s that life that he falls back on in order to take revenge.

10 – 2 for that crazy editing style – 1 for some inplausable situations + .4 for the Washington/Fanning scenes – .3 for being a little excessively violent and mean at times = 7.1