Untimely Reviews of two star movies – “Man on Fire”

The man, the man, the man is on fire. We don't need no water, just let Denzel burn. Burn Denzel Washington, burn. That ditty may not be very catchy, but this is the home of the mediocre, a.k.a. two star movies, and an excellence is not an issue.

The latest movie to hit my DVR is Denzel Washington's movie "Man on Fire". For all you spoiler haters, this is what happens in the "Man on Fire": Denzel gets mad and kills a bunch of people. Now this movies is totally ruined for you, hahaha!

"Man on Fire" is not to be confused with other guys who get mad and kill people movies, like "The Punisher", "Death Wish" 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, all Steven Segal movies, and Star Wars Episode III. This one is different because in almost half of the movie the man is not on fire. Perhaps more than two stars could have been garnered if Denzel had gone ape sh*t after the first 10 minutes. Then again, those other revenge movies are not exactly Oscar material.

Nevertheless, "Man on Fire" would have been tons more fun if the movie let us assume that Denzel had a good reason for torturing, slashing, shooting, and exploding lots and lots of bad guys. Instead the movies rubs it in our face. "Man on Fire" also offers many, many memorable quotes, such as "Forgiveness is between them and God. It's my job to arrange the meeting." and "[Denzel]'s art is death. He's about to paint his masterpiece.", etc. This makes for a great preview but lousy dialogue.

Yet, despite the painful set-up and abuse of one-lines, "Man on Fire" is impregnated with fresh visuals. The subtitles are not imprisoned at the bottom of the screen but instead become part of each image. The subtitles are also not limited to foreign dialects. Important names and numbers appear on the screen as do difficult to hear dialogue. I found this approach to subtitles to be easy on the eyes, i.e. I liked it. The flashy quick cuts and snippets of flashbacks are also engaging without being too annoying. Was this movie flashy enough to break two stars? Maybe, if you fast forward through the first forty five minutes.   

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