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Man on Fire (2004)

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

Director:

Tony Scott

Writers:

A.J. Quinnell (novel), Brian Helgeland (screenplay)
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Popularity
1,009 ( 5)
1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington ... John W. Creasy
Dakota Fanning ... Lupita Ramos
Radha Mitchell ... Lisa Ramos
Christopher Walken ... Paul Rayburn
Marc Anthony ... Samuel Ramos
Giancarlo Giannini ... Miguel Manzano
Mickey Rourke ... Jordan Kalfus
Rachel Ticotin ... Mariana Garcia Guerrero
Roberto Sosa ... Daniel Sanchez
Jesús Ochoa ... Victor Fuentes
Gero Camilo Gero Camilo ... Aurelio Sanchez
Mario Zaragoza Mario Zaragoza ... Jorge Gonzalez
Charles Paraventi Charles Paraventi ... Jersey Boy
Carmen Salinas ... Guardian Three
Esteban De La Trinidad Esteban De La Trinidad ... Guardian Two
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Storyline

Hard drinking, burnt out ex CIA operative John Creasy has given up on life until he's hired as a bodyguard to protect nine year old Pita Ramos. Bit by bit, Creasy begins to reclaim some of his soul, but when pita is kidnapped, Creasy's fiery rage is finally released and he will stop at nothing to save her as he sets out on a dangerous, revenge fuelled rescue mission. Written by Freddie Bidwell

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Revenge is a meal best served cold See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and strong violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK | Mexico

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

23 April 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Man on Fire See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$22,751,490, 25 April 2004, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$77,911,774

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$130,293,714
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The occasional opera-like singing of a woman as background in a few scenes is identical, or very similar, to that used by Tony Scott's brother Ridley in Gladiator a few years earlier. See more »

Goofs

After Pita is kidnapped, the police chief gives her full name as "Pita Martin Ramos". Not only is the child's real first name "Lupita," but according to Mexican name customs, the father's surname should go first, making it "Lupita Ramos Martin". See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Pita: CREASY!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Daniel Paredes ... Son of a driver See more »

Alternate Versions

European (PAL) version of the DVD lack the stylized subtitles found through the movie, except for a few in the beginning. Those subtitles are found in the form of regular DVD subtitles. See more »

Connections

Featured in HBO First Look: The Making of 'Man on Fire' (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

GMS vs Alien Project
Written by Riktam, Bansi and Ari
Performed by GMS
Courtesy of Spun Records/Tip World
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Righteous retribution and the John Creasy redemption.
27 June 2009 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Man on Fire is directed by Tony Scott and adapted to screenplay by Brian Helgeland from the novel of the same name written by A.J. Quinell. It stars Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Marc Anthony, Rachael Ticotin, Radha Mitchell, Christopher Walken, Giancarlo Giannini, Mickey Rourke and Jesús Ochoa. Music is scored by Harry Gregson-Williams and cinematography by Paul Cameron.

Mexico City and kidnappings are rife. Enter ex-military operative John Creasy (Washington). Often drunk and with no discerning aims in life, Creasy is hired by the Ramos family to act as bodyguard to their young daughter Pita (Fanning). After initially being cold and distant, Creasy starts to form a warm relationship with Pita, but tragedy strikes and Pita is kidnapped. This sets the wheels in motion for Creasy to go on a one man war of revenge against anyone involved in the snatch.

Directed with a raft of deliriously ace neo-noir flourishes by Tony Scott, Man on Fire is 145 minutes of fatalism. From the outset it's evident that this sweaty part of Mexico is home to a tortured soul, a man in desperate need of redemption. John Creasy will get this redemption, by hook or by crook, we know this, the narrative structure quickly pulls us in to impress this fact upon us. How he finds it, both emotionally and physically, is what drives the picture on. This is no ordinary tale of revenge, an excuse for pyrotechnics and inventive deaths, it is about one man's journey to said redemption, his trawl through hell, his personal sacrifice is his calling.

The catalyst is the kidnapping of young Pita Ramos, but where it would have been easy for Scott to jump in early and unleash Creasy hell, the director shows great restraint by affording time to the relationship of John and Pita. Most of the first hour is spent building a bond between them, the child softening the edges of the Creasy exterior, to then enter into his heart as he becomes not just a friend, but a surrogate father as well. It's a very real relationship, a natural one, so when things go pear shaped in the second half of the piece, we care what is happening.

Yet constantly that air of fatalism and pessimism hangs heavy as the plot thickens, the unfolding story pulsing with betrayal at almost every turn, classic neo-noir and Scott amps up the disorientation as we enter a hellish world of social decay. His box of tricks contain jump-cuts, film stock, reverse process, over-saturated colours, kinetic camera work, step-printing and slow-mo, all used to create the perfect tonal discord, a marrying up of the anti-hero's state of mind and that of the realm he has entered.

The film can be accused of pandering to stereotyping Latino baddies, especially irksome since the source novel was based in Italy, and that is a misstep that could have been avoided, but Man on Fire remains one of the most important neo-noirs available to view. It refuses to take easy options, particularly with the jet black finale, it has a grasp on what is required for quintessential neo-noir. Backed by stunning work from Washington, Scott and Cameron, it's a film equally of high technical merit as it is of narrative bite. 9/10


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