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Man on Fire (2004)

June 11, 2009

1/10 Little Piggies Snipped All The Way Home

Hey now! It’s another shit-heap of a movie by Tony Scott! No way!

Man on Fire is about a cold-blooded former assassin/current mean drunk whose heart grows to the size of a honeydew, thus sending him on a killing rampage, when the girl he has been hired to protect (Dakota Fanning) is kidnapped by a Mexican gang because her dad (Marc Anthony – come again?) is a crooked jerk. It’s like How The Grinch Stole Christmas, just a little bit more violent and not quite as festive…and less animated.

I had to see this movie for a film class I took in college. Why this movie was assigned is still a mystery to me, but I laughed my way through it all the same. The bad kind of laughing.

The assassin with a heart of gold is played by Denzel Washington, a pretty damn good actor who for some reason keeps signing on to work with director Tony Scott. I recently got into a conversation about Denzel with someone who was talking about movies on the subway and they pointed out that all he does in his movies now is just run around with his shirt undone and yell into cell phones. And you know what, they’re absolutely right.

I blame Tony Scott more for that one, but at the same time, no one is wrenching Denzel’s arm to do these movies either. Man on Fire is no exception to Scott’s formula of “Denzel + running = awesome”, but even though this isn’t Denzel’s strongest role by a long shot, it sure doesn’t help that he’s got a really freakin’ shitty script to work with either.

I don’t know, maybe Man on Fire is your kind of thing. Why don’t we take a poll. Do you like…

– Extreme sadism? Check.
– Watching people get their fingers cut off with hedgeclippers only to get killed five minutes later? Double check.
– Lengthy speeches about how life is a lot like a bullet? Very deep, indeed.
– Guys getting tortured and killed by having an inhuman amount of C4 explosives jammed up their ass and detonated while tied down to the hood of a car? Someone pinch me.

If these all sound great, then give Man on Fire a shot. Different strokes for different folks, you know?

Christopher Walken also has a bit part in the movie, and while it’s nothing special, he’s the only reason this movie got a 1 out of 10 instead of a zero. So way to go, Chris.

Ugh, I always shake my head when I hear people say they like this movie. I really don’t get it. The story sucks, it’s been done before and it’s been done better, and it’s a shining example of everything that’s wrong with movie violence today. I recently heard a film critic say that movie violence is so easy, that any film maker can manipulate the audience through pain in a movie because anyone call pull it off. Man on Fire is an exercise in cheap torture disguised as genuine emotion and I’m not falling for it.

There’s a million better movies out there featuring everyone that was involved in Man on Fire. So please, don’t see this movie. You can do so much better.

Awesome job of photoshopping Dakota Fanning into the poster, by the way. It’s like she’s actually in the explosion. Whoa.

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