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Man on Fire
Man on Fire
            Rated R
manonfire_6.jpg
Addiction Level Rating:2.5CCs
Whew!  This is lots of action and much violence but it stars Denzel Washington and that says a lot.  Denzel starring as John Creasy is a burned-out former CIA operative who seemingly has lost his will to live until an old buddy (Christopher Walken)  in Mexico City talks him into becoming a bodyguard for Pita (Dakota Fanning) a  neglected child.  Pita is very precocious child and she teaches him to enjoy life again and in turn he becomes her father figure. 
Child kidnappings have become rampant in Mexico City and bodyguards are in high demand.  Creasy becomes more involved in Pita's activities and when  she gets involved in swimming, with his involvment, she becomes more competitive.  Pita (age 9) is the daughter of Mexican industrialist Samuel Ramos (Marc Anthony) and his American trophy wife, Lisa, (Radha Mitchell).
When Pita is kidnapped, he is badly injured but he vows to kill everyone involved or who has benefited from her kidnapping.  He is a  "Man on Fire!".  
He uses all that he has learned as an assassin together with the help of an honest investigator, Manzano (Giancarlo Giannini), whom you will remember in "Hannibal", and journalist Mariana (Rachel Ticotin) and in his wake you will see a lot of violence but also positive results.  I'll stop here with the story as the ending will surprise you and I don't want to give it away.
The director is Tony Scott who develops the film's first half by developing its heart and soul which is the relationship between the former assassin Creasy and the child, Pita.  Dakota Fanning playing Pita is one of the brightest assets of the film but as always Denzel Washington provides the anchor of the film.  Go with the understanding that there is a lot of violence and that young and older children should not see this.   
 
-Barbara Higdon