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Man on Fire

In Mexico City, a former Assasin swears vengeance on those who committed an unspeakable act against the family he was hired to protect. 

Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Man on Fire

Oscar Winner Denzel Washington stars in this gritty revenge epic set in the sprawling metropolis that is Mexico City. It is bleak beyond words, a festering meld of corruption and depravity, which sets the tone from the off.

The action unfurls against the backdrop of a kidnapping epidemic sweeping the country. John Creasy (Washington), an ex CIA-operative and who knows what else, takes a break from drinking himself to death when he is hired to protect Pita Ramos (Fanning), the nine year old daughter of a high-powered industrialist type. Gradually, the pair become close and Creasy finds a new reason to live. But then just as suddenly as it arrives, his happiness is ripped from him once again when his young charge is kidnapped. With her gone, the time of his redemption has arrived and he seizes it with bloodied hands.

In his task, Creasy is nothing short of a man possessed, vowing to destroy anyone who was involved in the crime and in uncompromising fashion sets about ensuring that they pay the ultimate price.

Veteran Director Tony Scott keeps the action flowing and ably highlights the tension and anxiety that punctures the ambience throughout whilst the darker subtext makes this a more thought provoking picture than his usual all action affairs. Washington puts in a powerful performance as the lead but is ably supported by the likes of Christopher Walken and his young co-star, Dakota Fanning, although for much of the movie Washington carries it alone as only he can.

Overall, this is an impressive film, although far from a tourist grabber for the starring city, which has come off decidedly harshly in this portrayal. Nevertheless, this only adds to the drama, creating a location as abhorrent as the characters themselves.

In short, this film successfully combines ferocious action and a plot laced with treachery to breathe new life into a tired genre - making it a film that you really don't want to miss out on.

James Kopka

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Spring Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Spring Term (35mm)