about to paint his masterpiece"
Washed up ex-army specialist Creasy (Washington) is given
a second chance when long time friend Rayburn (Walken) offers him a job
protecting a family in Mexico City. Remote and still drinking, Creasy sees
this a just a way of passing the time but this changes when he meets the
family's daughter Pita (Fanning). She gets him to open up for the first
time in years and gives him a reason to live. Creasy's happiness is short
lived when Pita is kidnapped and he is almost killed in the ambush. As soon
as he is able to get back on his feet, Creasy swears vengeance on anyone
that profited from or had anything to do anything to do with Pita's kidnapping.
The revenge movie is making a comeback but does Tony Scott's
latest have what it takes to dish out some punishment? The answer is a very
The flamboyant director utilises all of his MTV style tricks
of the trade to bring a visual feast to the screen but the difference is
that this movie has the story to match the visuals. Based on the novel by
A.J. Quinnell with a screenplay by the excellent Brian Helgeland, this is
a movie that doesn't placate to the normal structure of the action drama.
The film refreshingly takes its time building character and cementing the
relationship between Creasy and Pita. This is where the picture really works
as you really start to care about the characters and their situation. By
the time the kidnap happens and the action really starts, you have enough
time invested in the both Creasy, Pita and her family for you to feel the
same way as principles on screen.
The performances match the quality of the script. Everyone
knows that Denzel Washington is one of the finest actors working in film
today and in Creasy he portrays a troubled man who rediscovered life. We
meet the character when he is emotionally closed, a drunk and wondering
around Latin America with no direction, then he meets Pita. At first he
sees her as a distraction but slowly, over the first hour of the movie,
Creasy opens up to the young girl and becomes part of her life. Washington
conveys this with his usual talent and panache, making the character believable
and approachable. After the kidnapping we witness the emergence of the Creasy
that has tormented him for so long. This is an artist who specialises in
death and the people involved are going to pay. In Washington's performance
we don't ever doubt this.
Dakota Fanning is the best child actress working in Hollywood
today. For someone so young, she conveys emotion better than some actors
that have been in the business longer than she has been alive. As Pita,
she portrays a child character that is likeable, which makes a change for
Hollywood. This was a must for the story, as you really had to gain sympathy
for her plight.
The support of the two leading characters is also first rate.
Aussie Radha Mitchell continues to make inroads into Hollywood with another
fine supporting performance as Pita's mother Lisa. Her reaction to her daughter's
kidnapping is exactly as you'd expect it to be, drawing up all the emotion
and pain that comes from that dreadful situation. Rachel Ticotin and Giancarlo
Giannini are good as Creasy's information sources. The smaller supporting
are drawn from the always excellent Christopher Walken and the rejuvenated
Tony Scott summons up all of his visual flair to produce a
unique look for the movie. He really excites viewer by combining extremely
quick cuts and zooms with a yellow tinge to bring the vibrant Mexico City
to life. He also utilises subtitles is a unique way, throwing them onto
the screen not just to translate the Spanish language but also to highlight
key conversations or words. They then fade away into the frame. This is
probably Tony Scott's best movie since True Romance.
While some of the characters are not developed enough and
we don't really get to find out much about Creasy's background, Man on Fire
is still an engaging story wrapped in a blood-drenched coat. The film treats
the viewer with a level of intelligence by building character and emotional
attachment before snatching it all away from you and dragging you kicking
and screaming onto the path of revenge.
Presented in Widescreen 2.40:1 Anamorphic with Dolby Digital
5.1 and dts soundtracks, the transfer is extremely good. Tony Scott's visual
feast is vividly brought to live with a very sharp picture that is radiant
throughout. The sound quality is also superb, with a strong emphasis on
dialogue but it really comes into its own during Creasy's revenge as the
surround sound engulfs you.
Commentary by director Tony Scott
This extremely informative commentary track comes from a visual director
that is on the top of his game. He talks about his twenty-two year association
with project, how the concept for the movie has changed over that time and
how the location changed from Italy to Brazil to Mexico. He then discusses
the casting process, revealing how Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning
got their parts, as well as the rest of the cast. The most interesting facet
of the track is when Tony Scott talks about how they designed a scene, the
look, sounds and shooting style he used to capture that moment. This is
all the more riveting when you are watching the kidnapping scene and Creasy's
Deleted Scenes (31.12 mins)
Entitled 'Lisa asks for a body guard', 'Lisa & Samuel have sex', 'Lisa talks
to Creasy/Creasy meets Jordan Kalfus', 'Pita prays for a dog', 'Pita asks
Creasy about his family', 'Pita asks Creasy about his hand', 'Creasy saves
Lisa at assassination/Sex with Lisa/Aftermath', 'Lisa tells Samuel that
Creasy has to go', 'Samuel plays piano/Creasy talks to Manzano/Lisa prays',
'Pita's ghost appears in the backyard', 'Creasy kills kidnapper Sandri',
'Jordan Kalfus explains the kidnapping of Pita', 'Samuel kills Jordan',
'Creasy talks to Marianna and Manzano' and 'Alternate Ending', these fifteen
deleted scenes have optional commentary by director Tony Scott. Each of
these scenes could easy go back into the movie and the alternative ending
see a more traditional, Hollywood style finale.
Trailers for Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, The Clearing, Johnson Family
Vacation, Taxi and Alien vs. Predator
Documentary - Vengeance is mine: Reinventing 'Man on Fire'
Split into six sections entitled 'Twenty-year Odyssey: Project Development',
'The Business of Kidnapping: Technical Advisors', 'Caught in the Cross-Fire:
Casting and Characterisation', 'City of God: On Location' and 'Fire and
Passion: Visual and Emotional Style', this documentary covers every aspect
of the movie. Director Tony Scott, producer Lucas Foster, screenwriter Brian
Helgeland, associate producer Don Ferrarone, executive producer James W.
Skotchdopole, production designer Chris Seagers, director of photography
Paul Cameron and stars Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Christopher Walken,
Marc Anthony, Radha Mitchell, Giancarlo Giannini, Rachel Ticotin and Mickey
Rourke talk about bringing 'Man on Fire' to the silver screen. The documentary
takes you behind the scenes of the movie, from pre-production, through filming
and postproduction, highlighting the development of the project, the stylistic
techniques used and what the actor brought to their characters. This is
a fascinating insight onto big budget, Hollywood filmmaking.
Pita's Abduction (4.16 mins)
Via an optional commentary track, director Tony Scott takes you through
the different techniques used to capture the exceptionally emotional and
powerful kidnapping sequence in 'Man on Fire'. You can view the director's
original storyboards and then watch the sequence from four different camera
views, with information about the frames per second and the lens used to
capture the action.
A collection of behind the scenes and promotional images from 'Man on Fire'
Music Video (3.15 mins)
Your chance to watch the promotional music video for 'Oye Como Va" by Kinky
Trailers & TV Spots
Watch the three theatrical trailers and the four TV spots entitled 'Meeting',
'Time', 'Fire' and 'Masterpiece'
20th Century Fox has proved again that they are the best at
release two-disc special editions of their big movie. The 'Man on Fire'
release is exceptionally good. The documentary is first rate, covering ever
aspect of the film's production, the breakdown of 'Pita's Abduction' is
a masterclass for up and coming film students and the commentary track is
from a director on the top of his game. Add to this some fascinating deleted
scenes and the film itself and you an exceptional package that no film fan
should be without.
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