Man on Fire (2004)
Directed by Tony Scott
Writing credits Brian Helgeland
Denzel Washington .... Creasy
Dakota Fanning .... Pita
Marc Anthony .... Samuel
Radha Mitchell .... Lisa
I saw "Man on Fire" in a pretty cool theater in Atlanta, Ga. It was back when it was the Madstone theater at Parkside. I don't mind telling you that I love that theater. I'm not afraid to say it. I love you Parkside! It had had some extensive remodeling since the last time I visited. It used to be a run down theater. Now it's a half mainstream and half art movie theater. It's still kind of run down but therein lies its charm. They have chess boards in the lobby and sell beer at the concession stand. I bought a Hoegaarden and plopped down into my seat. By the end of the movie, I was ready to cry foul and throw my beer bottle at the screen. Oh well. It wasn't Parkside's fault. It did all it could.
"Man on Fire" is about revenge and teddy bears. Cute little Dakota talks to her bear/ protector and names it after Creasy, (Denzel Washington). Creasy the big sad bear has to look after Dakota as she goes to school in Mexico City. Creasy becomes enraged when bad men wake him up out of hibernation and make him become a killer again. His little Dakota is gone. Dakota's mom hands Creasy her teddy bear and tells him to kill them all. The teddy bear is the symbol of death. It's stuffed with fluff and ready to blow.
If Denzel Washington wasn't in this movie, "Man on Fire" would be just another run of the mill revenge flick. He is the only reason I would give this movie a passing grade. Dakota was good too in her own insufferably cute way. But this flick betrays itself at the end. I won't ruin the ending but let's just say Hollywood screws it up again. Someone thought a brutal revenge flick should have a semblance of a happy ending. My eyes were rolling and I was ready to smash my beer bottle against the screen. I'd like to say that all the violence made up for the ending but the movie was so heavily stylized I wasn't sure what the heck was going on half the time. The editing room must have been hit by an earthquake.
SCORE: 2 out of 4 teddy bears of death