Saturday, July 5, 2014

"Man on Fire" with Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning (2004)

The fireworks from the 4th have hardly settled, so get ready for some more explosive action in this unique thriller starring Denzel Washington as a burnt out government operative named John Creasy, who has had his fill of killing in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He questions the morality of the things he did.

His former partner; Rayburn; played by Christopher Walken; has no such qualms. He has found a wife and a life living in Mexico. When John approaches him he is unsure of the direction his life is taking. Rayburn gets him a job as a body guard for a rich Mexican family. In the wake of all the kidnappings they are concerned for their 9 year old daughter’s safety.

Her name is Pita Ramos; played with great charm by Dakota Fanning. She soon develops a crush on the stoic and reserved Creasy, who insists it is not his job to be her friend, but to protect her. This is really a fa├žade for the shell he has been forced to erect around his true feelings during his years working for the CIA. Little Pita is about to pierce that veil.

As Pita gets ready for a swimming contest the two become very good friends, and he encourages her to be her best. The little girl falls in love with him and even names her Teddy bear for him. Slowly Vreasy emerges from his shell and is learning to live again. And he likes it.

But when things take the ultimate tragic turn and Pita is kidnapped, the old Creasy comes back to life and he vows revenge on anyone who had anything to do with Pita’s disappearance. The surprise ending will have you wondering about the value we all place on material things. It will also leave you marveling at one man’s sense of self-sacrifice in order to assuage his own sense of guilt.

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