Man on Fire

“His art is death, he’s about to paint his masterpiece”

Review by Lewis Goodall

Denzel Washington, the best actor ever, he’s so darn cool, he’s so darn clever (which is a reference 926,000 people will understand) plays John Creasy, an alcoholic, body guard with 16 years military training who is visiting an old friend, Paul Rayburn (Christopher Walken) in Mexico. Paul has a job opportunity for John to protect the daughter of Samuel Ramos (Marc Anthony), a successful businessman who does business things has money. Samuel Ramos’ daughter, Pita (Dakota Fanning) Is a swimmer/piano player/young person who is being protected by Creasy as there has been an increase in child kidnappings in the surrounding area by an organised crime syndicate who ransoms kids for money. Creasy being a depressive alcoholic finds it hard to take his mind off the job and makes no attempt to be Pita’s friend (the audiences sadly goes “aaaaaaaw”). As they spend more time together they build more of a connection till they are practically inseparable (the audience happily goes “aaaaaaaaaw”). As the syndicate commits a crime against the Ramos family that Creasy is hire to protect he must channel his former CIA skills for his tale of vengeance.

There’s more to the story than that but I don’t want to spoil the story right here at the beginning so I’ll have a spoil section at the end because I very much need to talk about that half of the film as well so no spoilers here for you and I recommend that you see this film without seeing the spoilers cause this is a damn fine movie.

Now this film is actually based on a true story which I had no idea about until the very end to which is was like “oh wow this was based on a true story”. The whole time watching it I was thinking what a creative and original story this was so I was gonna give a lot of credit to the writers for creating the story but I guess I have to thank the real life John Creasy for creating this great story. Turning this true story into this fantastic movie is a credit to the screenwriters for making a smooth experience for this story. Starting off with showing Creasy’s character through the alcohol he drinks was a great introduction into learning just how this character works. Denzel Washington is honestly fantastic and is the most stand out performance in this whole film, especially once we start seeing him rekindle his military training and going after the bad guys in the film. He’s truly the black John Wick in this film, and if you haven’t seen John Wick well he is basically a white John Creasy.

Dakota Fanning who is 9 years old in this film actually has a stand out performance which Is really surprising when normally kid actors are pretty useless. Although there is one moment where I saw her look at the camera, I saw you Dakota, don’t try and deny it.

These two start off together as strictly business as he takes her to school in the mornings to keep her safe from any potential predators that could be lurking. Telling Creasy facts about recent kidnappings and asking personal questions sets their relationship off to a bumpy start as Creasy is an introvert with a dark past of violence and loss. Constant reminders of his past, mixed with the alcohol makes Creasy a very suicidal boy to which he finds himself in his bedroom, practising drawing his gun which he turns on himself but the bullet doesn’t Fire. From that moment Creasy finds a new start with Pita and attempts to be more supportive with her pursuing her dreams of becoming a swimmer. From the moment the bullet doesn’t go is the moment that their relationship starts to blossom and the connection that these two have is a very father, daughter bond which is portrayed perfectly to really tug on the ole heart strings to see this military man become a big lovable goof.

As I mentioned before, Denzel truly shines once he must bring back all his CIA Skills against the syndicate and some of the moves he pulls against these guys solidifies this film as a major action flick so if you’re a fan of seeing people’s hands blown off with shotguns then this is the film for you. Intense action scenes matched with a story that keeps you hooked until the last moments makes this a truly unforgettable experience of vengeance and corrupt cops blood splats. The film has enough twists and turns to make a hot turns track envious.

Before giving my score and my spoiler section there’s one major aspect of the movie that I both loved and also hated. Now this film is edited and shot supremely well. As well as having normal camera angles, it has a lot of montage moments where the camera will zoom in on a specific object or face. Shots will overlap with intense music playing in the background which all blend together to create amazing sequences to show either the alcohol taking over or the action scenes in an intense way. Now I’m a huge fan of these moments when I felt they were appropriate, when shots were being fired or an edge of your seat moment was happening but there were moments when these montage shot were happening on a fairly mellow scene and it was just too overwhelming and felt like it really wasn’t needed in some moments where I felt they were trying to keep the high octane pace going but it would’ve been fine just without it.

Overall yes, I like this, watch this, it is very good, very cool, very clever.

8 Post-It Note Zebra’s out of 10

SPOILERS

So the first half of this movie is the relationship for Creasy and Pita. Halfway through the story, the syndicate commit the crime of kidnapping Pita and shooting Creasy in the chest which he survives. They kidnap the daughter and ask for 10 million dollars ransom. When the deal is about to be made, the drop of the money gets ambushed by a side gang who steal the money. The main one in charge, his nephew gets killed in the ambush so he kills Pita SHOCK HORROR!!!. The rest of the story is Creasy getting revenge and killing everyone involved in the deal by cutting off their fingers and putting an explosive in their brown porthole.

Turns out the ambush was planned by the dad to try and gain some extra cash so I wanted him dead more than anything but the turning moment was finding out Pita was still alive. The moment that Creasy and Pita come together again at the end of the film was incredibly heart warming and made me tear up seeing their happiness shine together. It made it worth it pushing through all the annoying editing.


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