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John Creasy is a burned-out ex-CIA operative/assassin who has given up on life. Creasy’s friend Rayburn brings him to Mexico City to be a bodyguard to nine-year-old Pita Ramos, daughter of industrialist Samuel Ramos and his wife Lisa. Creasy is not interested in being a bodyguard, especially to a youngster, but for lack of something better to do, he accepts the assignment.
PROFANITY: 17 F-words, 1 S-word, 2 GD's, a few others. SEX/NUDITY: Some sex talk. VIOLENCE: Bloody shootings, slashings, killings. DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Alcohol and tobacco use. ACTION: Explosions and shootouts. COMEDY: Some cute kid humor.
The above rating is an average of the critic reviews below.
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Berardinelli, Internet CriticFull Review Good ...this is a solid motion picture and a better-than-average example of a revenge flick. By concentrating on the emotional impact rather than the pyrotechnics, ammunition, and action/thriller elements, this comes across as an effective piece of drama, and it doesn't cheat us with a Hollywood cop-out ending. For what Man on Fire delivers, it's worth enduring Scott's hyperkinetic visual techniques.
Roger EbertFull Review Above Average "Man on Fire" employs superb craftsmanship and a powerful Denzel Washington performance in an attempt to elevate genre material above its natural level, but it fails. The underlying story isn't worth the effort. ...the strong opening levels out into a long series of action scenes, and the double-reverse ending works more like a gimmick than a resolution. There are scenes that work with real conviction. The movie has the skill and the texture to approach greatness, but Scott and Helgeland are content with putting a high gloss on formula action.
USA TodayFull Review Above Average Not too many R-rated revenge pics depend on "Uptown Girls'" Dakota Fanning for the stronger scenes. Yet once the 10-year-old star exits the picture, "Man on Fire" starts blowing a lot of smoke. Christopher Walken is a gift playing the hero's buddy. But from this point on, the movie becomes a redundant grind. Early on, "Man on Fire" has its moments.
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OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
We collected 273 moviegoer opinions. Denzel has another big winner! Moviegoers loved "Man on Fire," giving it lots of "Fantastic" and "Excellent" opinions with virtually no low opinions. This indicates a movie that will have very wide appeal. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND "MAN ON FIRE."
A wave of kidnappings has swept through Mexico, feeding a growing sense of panic among its wealthier citizens, especially parents. In one six-day period, there were 24 abductions, leading many to hire bodyguards for their children.
Into this world enters John Creasy (DENZEL WASHINGTON), a burned-out ex-CIA operative/assassin who has given up on life. Creasy's friend Rayburn (CHRISTOPHER WALKEN) brings him to Mexico City to be a bodyguard to nine-year-old Pita Ramos (DAKOTA FANNING), daughter of industrialist Samuel Ramos (MARC ANTHONY) and his wife Lisa (RADHA MITCHELL). Creasy is not interested in being a bodyguard, especially to a youngster, but for lack of something better to do, he accepts the assignment.
Creasy barely tolerates the precocious child and her pestering questions about him and his life. But slowly, she chips away at his seemingly impenetrable exterior, his defenses drop, and he opens up to her.
Creasy's new-found purpose in life is shattered when Pita is kidnapped. Despite being mortally wounded during the kidnapping, Creasy is "a man on fire,” as he vows to kill anyone involved in or profiting from the kidnapping. And no one can stop him.