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Man On Fire

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In which an alcoholic ex-mercenary (Denzel Washington) finds redemption by brutally killing a mess o' dirty Mexicans who have the temerity to kidnap a perfect, rich, blonde American child (Dakota Fanning). It's hard to decide on Man on Fire's worst flaw -- its abhorrent race politics; its greeting-card sentiments embodied by teddy bears and St. Jude medals; its subtitling of accented English for the gringos; the key plot points that defy logic; its wholesale slander of an entire nation of decent folks; its repellent violence presented as justice (when is detonating an bomb shoved up somebody's ass ever OK?); its interminable length; or its utter lack of pacing and dramatic tension? Inexplicably, director Tony Scott must have forgotten to include any gratuitous shots of naked women. If 142 minutes were cut from this 146-minute film, Man on Fire might make a decent music video ... from 10 years ago. Scott favors overlapping images, swirling cameras, sets lit with unreal light and defined by lots of candles and blowing gauze curtains, actors who stare out of a lot of windows, and plenty of jumpy cinematic rizz-razz -- all in service to absolutely nothing. In English and some Spanish, with subtitles. 1 camera

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