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"MAN ON FIRE"
(2004) (Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Heavy Extreme Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Heavy None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Moderate Heavy Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Action: A former covert operative goes on a rampage of revenge after the young girl he's been hired to protect is kidnapped and he's severely wounded during the abduction.
PLOT:
Following a meeting with their lawyer, Jordan Kalfus (MICKEY ROURKE), Mexican industrialist Samuel Ramos (MARC ANTHONY) and his American wife, Lisa (RADHA MITCHELL), decide that they need to hire a new bodyguard for their young daughter, Pita (DAKOTA FANNING), after her current one quits. Former CIA operative Rayburn (CHRISTOPHER WALKEN) thinks he has the man for them in friend and fellow ex-operative John Creasy (DENZEL WASHINGTON).

While overqualified, the latter hasn't ever worked in such a fashion, but agrees, making Samuel fully aware of his drinking problem. He decides to let Lisa and Pita make the final decision on John's employment, and with their approval John is hired. Being a precocious sort, Pita thinks of John as her new friend, but he makes it clear that he's not interested in that and only wants to do his job. Yet, over time, the two eventually bond, particularly when John takes to coaching her regarding her swim meets.

Then the unthinkable happens. While waiting for her piano lesson to end, corrupt Mexican cops and others close in on the scene with the intent of kidnapping Pita. John tries his best, but is outmanned and outgunned, resulting in Pita being abducted, and John severely wounded and arrested for the murder of two cops.

Current Mexican investigator Miguel Manzano (GIANCARLO GIANNINI) knows John is innocent, but worries about his safety and thus covertly moves him to Rayburn's place to recuperate. With the help of Manzano and Mariana (RACHEL TICOTIN), a local reporter who wants to expose the kidnapping problem, John sets out to get his revenge on those who kidnapped Pita. In doing so, he scales the ladder of corruption that eventually leads to corrupt cop Victor Fuentes (JESUS OCHOA) and finally ringleader Daniel Sanchez (GUSTAVO SANCHEZ PARRA).

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast or revenge flicks, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and strong violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
To avoid giving away some late in the game developments, not all characteristics are noted here.
  • DENZEL WASHINGTON plays an ex-CIA operative and assassin who seeks out those responsible for kidnapping Pita and plans on killing all of them. He also drinks a great deal.
  • DAKOTA FANNING plays his young and precocious charge who's kidnapped, but not before warming up his heart toward her.
  • MARC ANTHONY plays her father, a Mexican industrialist who must deal with Pita being kidnapped.
  • RADHA MITCHELL plays his American wife who becomes distraught over Pita's kidnapping, uses strong profanity and wants John to kill all of those responsible.
  • CHRISTOPHER WALKEN plays an old friend of Creasy's and fellow former assassin who's doing business south of the border and somewhat assists him in his quest for revenge. He briefly uses strong profanity.
  • GIANCARLO GIANNINI plays a local cop figure who also wants to bring down the kidnappers but allows John to have his way. He smokes and is having sexual relations with Mariana.
  • RACHEL TICOTIN plays a reporter who's trying to expose the truth behind the kidnappings and assists John in exchange for him helping her. She smokes, uses strong profanity and is having sexual relations with Manzano.
  • JESUS OCHOA plays a corrupt cop who's in cahoots with the kidnappers. He smokes.
  • MICKEY ROURKE plays Samuel's corrupt lawyer who uses profanity and is involved in the kidnapping scheme.
  • GUSTAVO SANCHEZ PARRA plays the head of the kidnapping ring who also smokes.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this drama/action flick that's been rated R. Profanity consists of at least 18 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are used. Some sexually explicit dialogue is present, a woman in a bra straddles her husband's lap and other sex is implied.

    Violence consists of various murders and scenes of torture as a man goes on a rampage of revenge after a girl is kidnapped. Some of those scenes have rather bloody results, and they and others may be tense or suspenseful to some viewers. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while tense family material is present in the form of a kidnapping and news of a death.

    Various characters smoke and/or drink, one to the point of intoxication (and alcoholism), while various forms of imitative behavior are present. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned about flashes of light on the screen, some of that occurs early in the film during a thunderstorm, while a great deal more (in strobe-like fashion) occurs at a dance club.

    For those prone to motion sickness, the spin around camera shots as well as jumpy camera work may be a bit much for them.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • John and Rayburn have drinks and John pours himself some more.
  • John admits that he's a drunk and Rayburn tells him that he has to keep that under control for his new job. We then see John pouring liquor from a flask into a cup.
  • John admits to Samuel that his only fault is drinking and that it slows his reflexes. Samuel then says that he should not tell Lisa about that. When they first meet, however, Lisa asks John if he'd like a drink and he asks for a "Jack and water" (that he quickly downs).
  • John does more drinking by himself while practicing maneuvers with his gun (that get a bit sloppy due to the drinking).
  • We see a bottle of whiskey near John as he maps out his route for driving Pita.
  • Following a knock at his door, John puts his bottle of whiskey away.
  • We see a montage of John drinking by himself at night and his reaction to that (symbolized by flashes of stylized camera work, directing and editing).
  • John drinks.
  • Rayburn has what looks like beer.
  • John gets ready to drink more whiskey, but then thinks about it and stops.
  • A cop mentions that a real Mexican hell is where there is no mariachi, tequila or Pita.
  • Manzano has a drink.
  • We see beer in the same room as Mariana and Manzano.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • John has various large scars on his hand.
  • John's shirt is rather bloody after he's shot several times.
  • We see some blood on John's bandages covering his wounds as he recovers.
  • A thug has blood from his neck. When John then cuts off one of his fingers, we see blood splatter onto the inside of a windshield. We then see the guy's bloody hands and more blood on the windshield.
  • John shoots a guy in the chest, killing him (with blood squirting out).
  • We see some blood from a man's mouth.
  • John finds a dead person floating face down in a pool with their blood in the water. He then finds a knife that has blood on it.
  • We see several streams of blood down a dead man's face.
  • A villain has blood on his face.
  • John has some blood on his shirt from being shot in the chest.
  • John shoots off part of a guy's hand with a shotgun blast (with bloody results then, while a bandage around is hand is later seen soaked in blood).
  • Some blood drips down off John's hand.
  • We see black and white footage of a person falling backwards into a pool with a gunshot wound in their forehead (after being shot).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • All of those involved in the kidnappings obviously have extreme cases of bad attitudes.
  • Rayburn uses the term "Jap" when referring to Japanese automotives.
  • John takes the law into his own hands by seeking out and killing all of those responsible.
  • Various other characters assist or let him do just that.
  • We learn that a father agreed to the kidnapping of his child in order to profit from it.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" might also be tense or suspenseful to viewers.
  • Having to stop at a stoplight while driving Pita, John pulls his gun on various street people (such as a window washer) who approach their car.
  • After a great deal of drinking, John holds his handgun to his head and pulls the trigger, but the bullet doesn't fire.
  • John notices a car following them and he tries to jot down the license plate number while driving and nearly runs into traffic while doing so.
  • While waiting outside of Pita's piano lesson, John must restrain her dog that's gotten into a tussle with another dog (thus making us think that something might happen while he's distracted).
  • The kidnapper implies that it's too late and that Pita is dead.
  • Mariana tells John that the villains have put a death curse on him.
  • We see that John has a corrupt cop stripped to just his boxers and tied bent over to a car. He then tells him that he's placed an explosive (of C-4) up his rectum and will detonate it in 5 minutes if the guy doesn't talk. He then starts the clock.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Shotguns/Machine guns/Knives/Rockets/Hand Grenade/Other Explosives: Used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • We see guards carrying automatic weapons.
  • After a great deal of drinking, John holds his handgun to his head and pulls the trigger, but the bullet doesn't fire.
  • A starter's pistol is used to start a swimming race.
  • We see John buying various forms of weaponry, including some grenades and shoulder fired rockets.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Don't f*ck with me," "Get the f*ck out of my house," "F*cker," "You're making me f*cking nervous," "I don't give a f*ck," "Be a f*cking man," "You son of a f*cking bitch," "What the f*ck do you want?" "Oh sh*t," "Pretty damn good," "Jap" and "Shut up."
  • John's tortuous means of getting villains to talk might be enticing for some kids to try on others.
  • A miscellaneous woman wears a midriff-revealing top.
  • John does more drinking by himself while practicing maneuvers with his gun (that get a bit sloppy due to the drinking).
  • After a great deal of drinking, John holds his handgun to his head and pulls the trigger, but the bullet doesn't fire. Later, a different person commits suicide off camera.
  • John asks Pita if she can belch (she can and does) and then tells her to do so during her piano lessons so that her instructor will be offended and hopefully not want to teach her anymore. We then hear her practicing and occasionally belching.
  • A miscellaneous man has tattoos.
  • We see various people at a rave (dance party).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least "18 "f" words (1 used sexually), 1 "s" word, 1 slang term using male genitals ("pr*ck"), 2 damns, 1 ass, 1 S.O.B. and 2 uses of "G-damn."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see some women on the street who appear to be prostitutes.
  • We see various young women in small bikinis (showing varying amounts of bare flesh).
  • Lisa removes her shirt (we see her in her small bra), straddles Samuel who's seated and the two passionately kiss (but the scene then ends there).
  • Pita asks John, "What's a concubine?" while doing her history homework and she mentions the emperor of China having one thousand of them (he says it's like a wife but in a different time).
  • Lisa shows a little cleavage.
  • Manzano gooses Mariana's clothed butt at a press conference (she doesn't mind as we later learn that they're lovers).
  • Manzano playfully asks Mariana when they get to sleep together again. She then jokingly replies, "We never sleep. We f*ck."
  • We see Mariana in her bra as she gets dressed in front of Manzano, implying sex.
  • We see that John has a corrupt cop stripped to just his boxers and tied bent over to a car. He then tells him that he's placed an explosive (of C-4) up his rectum and will detonate it in 5 minutes if the guy doesn't talk.
  • SMOKING
  • Manzano, Mariana, Daniel and Fuentes each smoke several times, Kalfus and Samuel each smoke once, while miscellaneous characters smoke in various scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Pita's kidnapping obviously causes some tense family scenes regarding her parents.
  • A mother reacts to news that her daughter is dead.
  • Lisa slaps at Samuel while mad at him.
  • We learn that a father agreed to the kidnapping of his child in order to profit from it.
  • A woman must deal with her husband committing suicide.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Real life kidnappings.
  • Revenge and whether two wrongs make a right.
  • Post traumatic distress disorder.
  • Those with drinking problems.
  • Suicide.
  • Living in a foreign country.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see some brief violence in a street kidnapping during the opening credits. In the quickly cut and purposefully shaky camera work, we then see the kidnappers take a large clipper to some part of the hostage's body and apparently cut it off (we see the pained reaction and later hear Kalfus talk about an ear having been cut off, but we don't know if that's related to this case).
  • While waiting outside of Pita's piano lesson, John must restrain her dog that's gotten into a tussle with another dog (thus making us think that something might happen while he's distracted). After he gets the dog and puts it into their car, John notices police blocking off the road and others then arriving (as some suspenseful music plays). When Pita then comes out, John fires several warning shots into the air to make her run. She does and a gun battle breaks out between John and some cops and others (that includes a car smashing into another). John is hit but manages to shoot and kill several others (during a hail of bullets) before being shot many times (including in front of Pita) and collapsing to the ground, bloodied. A man then grabs Pita and kidnaps her.
  • Men shoot machine guns at a man during a ransom drop-off, killing him (no blood).
  • Lisa slaps at various authority figures in her house while upset that the ransom drop-off was interrupted.
  • John hits a thug (leaving his neck bloody) and we then see that he has the thug's hands tied to a car's steering wheel. He then brandishes a switchblade and threatens to cut off the thug's fingers and cauterize the wound with a cigarette lighter if the guy doesn't talk. John then struggles with the guy and cuts off one finger (we don't see the actual severing, but do see blood splatter onto the inside of a windshield). He then uses the car cigarette lighter to cauterize the wound and then does this again after a brief respite. He then appears to slice the guy's face with his knife. He then shoots him point blank in the head and then has the car roll off a cliff where it falls a long distance before exploding on contact with the ground.
  • John holds his gun on another thug and then slams a door open into another person, knocks him to the floor, and then fires a shotgun blast through part of a door.
  • John shoots a villain dead, then some warning shots, and then shoots another guy in the chest, killing him as well (with blood squirting out).
  • John sets a fire that then hits some gas and causes a building to explode (after firing warning shots to make everyone leave).
  • John fires a shoulder mounted rocket into an SUV, causing it to explode. He then walks out onto the street and fires his handgun at another car, hitting some men. He then rolls a grenade under a car, resulting in an explosion, shoots another man dead and then holds his gun on a corrupt cop.
  • John rips duct tape off a corrupt cop's face (so that it hurts).
  • We see a flashback of men shooting another man with machine guns.
  • An explosion kills a man and blows up a car.
  • John finds a dead person floating face down in a pool with their blood in the water. He then finds a knife that has blood on it.
  • Lisa slaps at Samuel while mad at him.
  • We hear the sound of a gunshot signaling a successful suicide.
  • A man shoots another man in the arm and then holds his shotgun on Mariana, threatening her.
  • A villain shoots and hits John in the chest, but he gets off a round that hits a small mini-bus that's then hit by a large bus (the villain has blood on his face).
  • John holds his gun to a person's head.
  • John shoots off part of a guy's hand with a shotgun blast (with bloody results).
  • A man appears to die from his earlier gunshot wounds.
  • We see black and white footage of a person falling backwards into a pool with a gunshot wound in their forehead.



  • Reviewed April 20, 2004 / Posted April 23, 2004

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