le 20 novembre 2015
MAN ON FIRE [2004 / 2015] [Blu-ray] [US import] Magnificent. . . Keeps You On The Edge Throughout! Explosive, Exhilarating, Essential!
Two-time ACADEMY AWARDS® Winner Denzel Washington ignites a masterpiece of mayhem in this “powerful” action thriller. [Los Angeles Times] Hard-drinking, burned-out CIA operative John W. Creasy [Denzel Washington] has given up on life – until his friend Rayburn [Christopher Walken OSCAR® Winner] gets him a job as a bodyguard to a nine-year old Pita Ramos [Dakota Fanning]. Bit by bit, John Creasy begins to reclaim his soul, but when Pita Ramos is kidnapped, John Creasy fiery rage is released and he will stop at nothing to save her.
FILM FACT: The real John W. Creasy, is a former CIA operative and former Force Recon Marine officer and now a mercenary. Daniel Rosas Sánchez "The Voice" is based on a real kidnapper, Daniel Arizmendi López. Just like the real Arizmendi López, "La Voz" believes in Santa Muerte. Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte or, colloquially, Santa Muerte (Spanish for Holy Death), is a female folk saint venerated primarily in Mexico and the Southwestern United States.
Cast: Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Radha Mitchell, Christopher Walken, Marc Anthony, Giancarlo Giannini, Mickey Rourke, Rachel Ticotin, Gustavo Sánchez Parra, Jesús Ochoa, Gero Camilo, Mario Zaragoza, Charles Paraventi, Carmen Salinas, Esteban De La Trinidad, Angelina Peláez, Norma Pablo, Rosa María Hernández, Heriberto Del Castillo, Steve Gonzales, Andres Pardave, Hector Hernandez Zertuche, Georgina González, Abraham Sandoval, Jorge Victoria, Ariane Pellicer, Jorge Picont, Alberto Estrella, Gerardo Taracena, Elvira Richards, Javier Zaragoza, Enrique Cimet, Sparkle, Dunia Alvarez, Beatriz Pina, Hector Tagle, Rubén Santana, Fernando Berzosa, Eduardo Rivera, Victor De Pascual, Norma Martínez, Jorge Merlo, Fernando Arvizu, Ghalil Elhateb Estrada, Hugo Genesio, Gonzalo Alvarez, Ofelia Aguirre (uncredited), Rossana Fuentes (uncredited), Adrian Grunberg (uncredited), Jorge Guerrero (uncredited), Berenice Manjarrez (uncredited), Fernando Moya (uncredited), Stacy Perskie (uncredited), Manuel Poncelis (uncredited), Raul Zermeño (uncredited) and Jorge Zárate (uncredited)
Director: Tony Scott (21 June 1944 – 19 August 2012)
Producers: Arnon Milchan, Conrad Hool, Don Ferrarone, James W. Skotchdopole, Lance Hool, Lucas Foster, Peter Toumasis and Tony Scott
Screenplay: Brian Helgeland and A. J. Quinnell (Novel)
Composer: Harry Gregson-Williams and Lisa Gerrard
Cinematography: Paul Cameron
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Cantonese and Korean
Running Time: 146 minutes
Region: Region A/1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘MAN ON FIRE’ is an uncompromising look at the effects of kidnapping in Latin America. It is also a heartfelt character study about the relationship between a young girl [Dakota Fanning] and her bodyguard [Denzel Washington]. The film represents at the time a new direction for flashy action auteur Tony Scott, whose other hard-hitting films includes ‘Spy Game’ and ‘Enemy of the State.’
The film opens with subtitles explaining that “a person is kidnapped every sixty seconds in Latin America, and only 70% are likely to survive.” We witness an everyday businessman being dragged off of the street from his wife and into a getaway car, held for ransom, and finally returned to his family in the middle of a freeway, nearly naked, and physically damaged, which I will not elaborate on the violent details. The continued wave of kidnappings leads a couple [Marc Anthony] and [Radha Mitchell] worried about their only child, Pita Ramos [Dakota Fanning], to enlist the protection of an ex-government operative named John W. Creasy [Denzel Washington], who is haunted by his previous crimes against man and spends his days drinking his life away, eventually he reluctantly accepts the job.
Every day, he drives Pita Ramos [Dakota Fanning] to school, and totally uninterested in her or her interest in John W. Creasy [Denzel Washington]. Eventually, John W. Creasy warms to the young girl because of her smart but somewhat innocent nature. As their relationship grows stronger, so does John W. Creasy will to live. One day, as Pita Ramos is coming out of the building where Pita Ramos has just attended her piano practice, but suddenly Pita Ramos is abducted, and John W. Creasy is shot several times by the abductors and left for dead. When John W. Creasy awakens, he begins investigating the kidnapping and unleashing his wrath on those responsible their unholy attack on civil liberties and especially kidnapping Pita Ramos.
‘MAN ON FIRE’ does not dish out angry revenge clichés, but ‘MAN ON FIRE’ takes its time and builds a case, allowing the first act to focus on the growing strong bond between John W. Creasy and Pita Ramos. The viewer comes to appreciate why John W. Creasy is so hell-bent on destroying those who took his ward Pita Ramos. ‘MAN ON FIRE’ is a moral drama about replacing an unacceptable evil with one that is acceptable. Though John W. Creasy is wanted by the police for his wave of destruction, John W. Creasy fills his void that the girl’s kidnapping have created. Denzel Washington is back to his old stomping ground where he returns to playing a multi-layered character who must not only overcome obstacles, but his own demons. Though he is tormented by the loss of Pita Ramos, he still takes pleasure in exacting his justified vengeance.
What I really liked about ‘MAN ON FIRE’ is the over-directed and chaotic scenes that gives you a good adrenalin rush and especially where the visuals shifts with dramatic moves from slow-motion to emphasise key scenes and then goes into the ultra-hyperactive camera actions, to really make you feel you are involved with the action that is happening on the screen. Some people have criticised the strange use of subtitling and sometimes having the dialogue spoken in English and subtitled at the same time; and many of the words are often flashed on the screen, blown up three times the size, and uses devices to emphasize those very words. But the reason for that is because the Mexican actors have very strong Latin accents that sometimes you cannot quite understand what they are saying, but despite this, it still works for me.
Denzel Washington was perfect for the role of John W. Creasy. He’s believable as both the “nice guy” and the “bad guy”. You buy into his character whether he’s joking with the little girl Pita or he’s cutting the fingers off of a man he’s interrogating. Not many actors could pull that off, but Washington does. John W. Creasy is a complex character full of contrasting sides. John W. Creasy is a born again Christian but also a cold-blooded assassin, but the same time he feels suicidal, but then realises he is also capable of being a father figure. That makes his personality and his dark history all the more interesting. Dakota Fanning as Pita supports Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning is talented beyond her years and it shows on the screen. Dakota Fanning displays a good mixture of maturity and childishness that makes her seem like an average kid that John W. Creasy could grow fond of. Playing Pita’s parents are Marc Anthony (yes, the famous Latin singer) and Radha Mitchell [‘Pitch Black’]. Both are excellent and play their roles with the right amount of anguish. Giancarlo Giannini [‘Hannibal’] and Rachel Ticotin [‘Total Recall’] are also excellent as the Mexican police and reporter on the trail of the kidnappers.
The music in the film is an eclectic mix of tunes that works so perfect with the film. At times it sounds like Hans Zimmer’s ‘Gladiator’ soundtrack. At other times there are bizarre remixes of Linda Ronstadt songs. Then later it switches to Mexican guitar music. It all comes together to give the brilliant action-packed film a unique sound experience. One bizarre moment I’ll never forget is when John W. Creasy is torturing a man and a Mexican version of “Hey Mickey” is playing on the radio and it was totally surreal at times, but I feel this added to make the whole experience that the actors are also experiencing in the film.
‘MAN ON FIRE’ is still a brilliant rousing, furious action-drama. Most importantly, the hero is a man we want to get out there and do his job without any interference. His intentions become the hopes of the viewer, and when he gets the job done, we have every reason to cheer. If John W. Creasy, a man whose profession is murder, and Tony Scott, who has never shown heart in his storytelling, can both be redeemed this time round, then the film is as much about the power of redemption as is it is about vengeance. Top marks for a job well done for all involved with the film.
Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘MAN ON FIRE’ is presented in a faithful brilliant 1080p encoded image transfer that perfectly replicates Tony Scott's fast action visuals. Colours are so rich and lush and the palette may seem oversaturated at times, but it never wavers or appears unstable. Black levels are incredibly deep, and the contrast is rock steady. Better still, detail is sharp and very natural; especially the skin texture, clothing fibres, and stubble look crisp and three dimensional. Just take one look at the scene in the Dakota Fanning bedroom. Take notice the book titles in the background, the stitching on the bed linens, and the trinkets at her bedside and every detail pops out, making this one of the most accurate presentations I've seen. It will certainly wow fans of this film and catch the eye of any newcomer sampling it for the first time.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – ‘MAN ON FIRE’ features an awesome aggressive 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround track that does a brilliant job in reproducing both the roar of the pandemonium that happens throughout the dramatic film and also the subtleties of whisper voices of the actors. While the film’s first act offers mostly quiet ambiance and crisp conversations, chaos quickly moves in to dominate the sound field, making dynamics of the star of ‘MAN ON FIRE.’ We get brilliant commanding rumbles that mingle with balanced treble tones to produce a natural and powerful sound field. When I felt the impact of gunshots or explosions in the centre of my chest, I knew this track will give your Home Cinema AV receiver a good workout. Moreover, I was totally impressed with the number of individual elements present in the rear speakers and the sound designers managed to hurl immersive acoustics and explosive sounds across the back of my home theatre set-up throughout the awesome film. But most importantly the film's natural soundscape and stirring dynamics continually made me forget that I was watching ‘MAN ON FIRE.’
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras: A Collector's Edition DVD was released in 2005 and featured a feature length documentary, featurettes, deleted scenes, and more. This is a massive disappointment for fans of the film, and one that leads me to believe we'll be seeing another high definition edition of 'Man on Fire' in the future. When will studios learn these lazy manoeuvres only serve to alienate fans and reduce the value of an otherwise exceptional Blu-ray disc?
Theatrical Trailers: Man On Fire  [1080p] [2.40:1] [2:54]; The Sentinel  [1080p] [2.40:1] [2:00]; Mr. & Mrs. Smith  [1080p] [2.40:1] [2:26] and Entrapment  [1080p] [2.40:1] [1:58]
Finally, ‘MAN ON FIRE’ is one of those rare brilliant films that comes out of nowhere and really surprises you. While at the same time it might not be a film for everyone, it is still an engrossing tale of revenge that is well worth checking out. What a refreshing rarity that is for a Hollywood film that has an ending that is a strong parallel to the kind of love we all wish for and it is really beautiful performances from everyone, but although it is also tragic ay times, but it is also equally redemptive. The message we get out of the film is that we cannot count on the authorities to help us and that sometimes vigilante justice is our only recourse. The final hour of ‘MAN ON FIRE’ is a violent experimental film in its own right; the camera spins and crash zooms wildly. The editing, machine gun quick, cuts between colour, black and white and strobe effects. Subtitles dance across the screen, sometimes cutting straight through the middle of the frame. Music jumps in and out, utilising disparate genres and artists, from Nine Inch Nails to Tony Basil. But as it stands, the ‘MAN ON FIRE’ of 2004 is an intriguing film, one that plays directly into Scott’s strengths, but also flings wildly into almost every direction at once. Somehow, through sheer act of craft, the experiment works. ‘MAN ON FIRE’ is an extremely important film in Tony Scott’s filmography and one that deserves more recognition as a turning point in his career as one of the true masters of action cinema. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom