Man on Fire Review
“The First Hour Was Actually Not That Bad, However It Completely Derails”
February 19th, 2012
At the beginning of Man On Fire there came a somewhat interesting quote. Denzel's character asks himself if he is the right person to become a bodyguard, because he is not so communicative. Christopher Walken's character responds: "So you'll be the silent type. People will appreciate that." This unconsciously meta-joke actually summarizes the entire movie.
And yes, Denzel Washington plays in Man On Fire once again a boring protagonist. Exaggerated glumly, silent, troubled (in a so called cool way), which results that he looks 'too cool to care'. Of course, you immediately know already he is going to merge with the cute Dakota Fanning, who looks like she is going for the main prize in the "Little Miss America" matches because of her statements. The worst acting performance, however, comes from Radha Mitchell, it almost looks like she has no clue what she is doing throughout. Throughout the first half, she makes sexual advances to Denzel, which seems to have no effect at all.
The first hour of the movie was actually not that bad. The visual mumbo jumbo seems to have somewhat a purpose. The miracles never cease, as they always say. The subplot of the dirty cops was unoriginal, but happily it does have a simple structure and it was actually quite comfortable to watch.
The film, however, completely derails when Denzel's character changes into a sadistic executioner. He cuts off fingers, blows up discos and even, as part of a sex ritual, he puts a bomb in someone's anus. Coupled with this uncomfortable instruction, the visuals also die at this point. The second half of the movie almost seems to have been edited by someone with compulsions and filmed by someone who is blind and has a cocaine addiction of some kind... that is how bad it looked. We get constant shots who point at nothing. As you think it could not get worse, the story completely evolves in absurdity: I mean come on, did it had to be the father who kidnapped his own daughter?
Also the ending was just a giant mess of failure. Oh my God, Denzel dies, how tragic! I would say: that serves him right. Apparently Denzel, who seems to be a Bible-freak throughout the entire film, forgot the line "reap what you sow". And just a question: why did his death contain shots of a volcano?
It is a pity that Christopher Walken plays a role in this piece of shit. Especially because his role was so insignificant, he just there to show how the main character feels to my opinion. Also Mickey Rourke can now make himself completely ridiculous in his already slain career. Marc Anthony shows that he can still play better.
I could be very mild about this movie, but I will not because this movie has the pretension to be 150 minutes long. It is possible for this simple film to be 90 minutes long instead of 150 minutes? I think it is possible, but I guess the people behind it did not thought the same.