Mon, May 03, 2004

: Man on Fire

Director: Tony Scott

This is a strange and uncomfortable movie. It’s two different movies in one and doesn’t make a lot of sense. The script definitely needed another rewrite. It’s about a troubled man with a mysterious past who takes on a job in Mexico as the bodyguard for a little girl. When she’s kidnapped and killed, the guy takes it on himself to track down the kidnappers and kill them one by one. In the first half we meet the guy and see his relationship develop with the little girl. At first he wants to be cold and doesn’t want to be her friend, but she gradually wins him over. It’s touching and sweet, innocent and tender. But after the kidnapping suddenly the movie is explosions, blood splatter, and violent torture. It’s an uncomfortable switch. The first half feels like a light-hearted family comedy; suddenly it’s a dour, grim action movie. In his quest for revenge the guy has no scrupples whatsoever and it seems a deliberate tact on the part of the filmmakers to make us question if the guy’s a good guy or not. That’s not a good tact because the film should be telling us that, not forcing us to decide without giving us all the information. It makes watching the action uncomfortable. In

Another problem is the ending, whch is bizarre and doesn’t make much sense. I guess their’s some “justice” to it, but I was expecting more. (Spoiler alert: stop here if you don’t want the ending revealed.) In the film the bodyguard trades himself for the girl. That’s weird because the guy already has the kidnapper’s brother — wouldn’t he trade his brother for the girl? Yet he wants his brother and the bodyguard — weird. Finally, I was expecting — especially after earlier seeing the bodyguard’s expertise with explosives — that he would blow himself up with all the bad guys. But that didn’t happen. Instead he was apparently killed but the film tacked on some text to reveal that the kidnapper was later caught by the authorities. What kind of wimpy ending is that? Lame lame lame. At least let him take out 30 bad guys in a bang, making his trading of himself make some sense. As it was he just let himself be slaughtered and it was just dumb.

Overall, a lame and poor excuse for a film. Not worth your time. If you want, rent it and watch the pleasant first half, but stop when the girl’s kidnapped. Or just start it there and see it as a mediocre action film. But both parts together just don’t fit and the ending is just pitiful.

Topic: [/movie]