1. Man On Fire:The entire production of “Man on Fire” is red hot…with a talented cast, headed by Denzel Washington (best actor Oscar for “Training Day“), and director Tony Scott (“Spy Game” and “Enemy of the State”) both of which I loved, has captured perfectly the fast paced, contemporary story. Adapted from the novel by A.J. Quinnell, the characters were created with depth and powerful dialogue peppered with Spanish and ironic humor.
Mexico City teems with kidnappers; out to snatch members of well to do families, who then collect on their kidnap insurance to pay the ransoms. Creasy (Washington) has come to
Mexico to do some soul searching with his old Marine buddy Ray (Chris Walken). We later learn they were trained assassins. Though Ray declares that he’s “through with killing,” he does transport “goods” back and forth across the US/Mexican border for businessmen. Creasy is tortured by his past; seeking solace in a bottle and redemption in a bible he keeps with him.
Samuel (Marc Anthony), a
Mexico City businessman in big financial trouble, and his wife Lisa (Radha Mitchell), hire Creasy as a bodyguard for their daughter Pita (Dakota Fanning). The salaries at the bottom of the pay scale for guards but Creasy can’t complain; Samuel can’t renew his kidnap insurance if he doesn’t have a bodyguard, and Pita can’t go back to school if she’s not protected.
Pita is a very perceptive and mature young girl, noticing nearly everything about Creasy’s sad and lonely existence right away. She even asks him if being black in
Mexico will be an advantage or disadvantage. Creasy’s answer is, “…we’ll have to see.”
And what we see, of course, is Creasy gunned down and Pita’s kidnapping. Everything goes wrong at the drop for the ransom and the aftermath is devastating. Recovered from his wounds, Creasy is a man with a passion for revenge, and the know-how to exact it.
Denzel Washington allows us to see both the weary warrior and the dedicated, detached assassin he portrays with equal clarity. And Dakota Fanning, who is ten years old, is a wonder to watch in this role.