On his first day on the job as a Los Angeles narcotics officer, a rookie cop goes beyond a full work day in training within the narcotics division of the L.A.P.D. with a rogue detective who isn't what he appears to be.
After a ferry is bombed in New Orleans, an A.T.F. agent joins a unique investigation using experimental surveillance technology to find the bomber, but soon finds himself becoming obsessed with one of the victims.
Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.
A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can't stand idly by - he has to help her.
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
When Creasy leaves the animal hospital and returns to the crime scene, a pre-2003 Lincoln Town Car carrying the reporter pulls out behind him. When they look in the rear view mirror it is a newer model of Town Car (2003+). At the crime scene it is back to being a pre-2003 model. See more »
[with both his hands tied to the hood of the car]
You know, I-I'm a professional.
That's what everybody keeps saying. "I'm just a professional". Everybody keeps saying that to me. "I'm just a professional", "I'm just a professional". I'm getting sick and tired of hearing that.
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Alcoholic mercenary Creasy (Washington) is all washed-up, until his friend (Walken) finds him a job in Mexico City, as bodyguard for a rich family's little girl Pita (Fanning). The taciturn man and melancholy girl slowly develop a strong bond... that is utterly shattered the day that Pita is kidnapped and that negotiations are sorely mishandled.
"Man on Fire"'s title works against it. It proclaims an adrenaline-fueled action film, when in fact what we get is very different. What could be mistakenly thought to be a prologue (Creasy is introduced, meets Pita and the relationship is shown) constitutes a good half of the film's running time. Washington and Faning are on top form, the former tortured and angry and the latter endearing without being cloying, so it is a tribute to Scott and screenwriter Helgeland that the film takes its time showing their odd relationship. This makes things all the more hurtful and outraging when she is captured in a kidnapping that leaves Creasy severely scarred, both emotionally and physically.
The film earns its title in the second half, not because of non-stop action - which it fore-goes in order to give us something more pondered and cruel - but because Creasy is literally ablaze with silent fury. As he hunts down anyone who participated or profited from Pita's kidnapping, dismantling rings of Mexico City's tower of corruption, his methods get bloodier while his movement actually get slower. Creasy races against time and his own likely death, as a tragic figure who's newfound reason to live has been taken away from him.
The performances are fine, with great turns from the two leads and superb supporting turns by the always reliable Christopher Walken and Jiancarlo Giannini. What sometime detracts from the film's quality is Tony Scott's now signature messy visuals. While some shots are magnificent, reminiscent of brother Ridley's work, some are almost trashy and epilepsy-inducing (some unnecessary hyper-MTV editing). the man redeems himself by handling his actors with care, superbly illustrating his environment and creating a stark atmosphere.
This is a precious oddity: a quality blockbuster.
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