Movie: Man on Fire

Our Rating: 2.00

How long it can take to realize you're in the company of Satan. This unspeakably vile actioner effectively impersonates a respectable drama for a good hour or so, delineating with great care the growing bond between a self-loathing former government operative (Denzel Washington) and the likably precocious tot (Dakota Fanning) he's been hired to protect. But the minute the kid is snatched by Mexican hoodlums, subtlety gets sacrificed to breathtaking sadism, with Denzel waging reckless war in the streets and shoving C-4 up guys' asses. The movie is in love with death, and even if that doesn't bother you, you won't be able to stomach the preposterous narrative and visual manipulations that director Tony Scott unleashes in this Tony Scottiest of films. Even the subtitles are over the top. Catch the first hour in some nonpaying context, mostly to see Fanning prove again that we should stop calling her "one of our finest young actresses" and pronounce her one of our finest actresses, period. Because the lesson of River Phoenix is that it's never too early to give credit where it's due.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.