Tony Scott directs Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning and Christopher Walken in this brutal actioner about a washed up bodyguard who unleashes hell on a syndicate of Mexican kidnappers.
Keen visualist Tony Scott worked five times with Denzel Washington on manly, glossy sweaty thrillers and Man on Fire is easily their best collaboration. It is a heady brew of platonic romance between killer and child, really nasty ultraviolence, and frame fucking intense storytelling (subtitles emphasise points with an unusual smoke in a bottle beauty, shots blur and judder into each other like the film has been edited in a food processor). It is a genuinely tough movie, despite devoting an hour to Washington and Fanning bonding, that by close of play feels almost mythic in its stature and effect on the viewer. It is also one of the very rare films where Denzel actually chimes with his co-stars, who would have guessed he and a hyper-relaxed Walken (a gorgeous support turn, funny and touching) would make such convincing old friends?