Corporate Line: Denzel Washington stars as a government operative/soldier of fortune who has pretty much given up on life. In Mexico City, he reluctantly agrees to take a job to protect a child (Fanning) whose parents are threatened by a wave of kidnappings. He eventually becomes close to the child and their relationship reawakens and rekindles his spirit. When she is abducted, his fiery rage is unleashed on those he feels responsible, and he stops at nothing to save her.
The Good: Man on Fire is only worth watching because of good acting that make up for weak roles. Christopher Walken adds some spice to a rather pedestrian film.
The Bad: We know Denzel Washington can act yet he gives the impression content to take parts that don’t push his abilities. Man on Fire is overcooked and full of clichés. The setup is there from minute one as we know what will happen from beginning to end. It’s a story that has been done over and over again. And when new lines are written they are so trite that it’s laughable—thankfully they are often delivered by the always brilliant Christopher Walken.
Frankly: Man on Fire is flaccid even when it’s trying to conjure up the entire school of revenge.
+ Charlie Craine