Tony Scott is one of those directors that, when you look at his body of work, you realize that you like, if not love, damn near everything on the list.
One of my favorites is Man on Fire, which holds a current Rotten Tomatoes rating of 39%. Steve Hussey recently did a comprehensive take down of the movie, years after it was released. I seem to recall at the time this review was written that Murderslim said that if you liked Man on Fire then you wouldn’t like their fiction (not a news flash but I like both).
I went in to my first viewing of Man on Fire with very little expectations except that Denzel was in it and he’s always good. Since then I’ve seen it a few time and it always holds up for me.
The key to the success of the movie for me is the relationship between Creasey and Pita and, more importantly, the chemistry between the actors. Often, in TV and movies, a relationship will be written a certain way but the actors playing those characters lack a fundamental chemistry that the roles and scene requires. Washinton and Fanning have it. That’s why the first half of the movie works so well; it succeeds in providing the proper emotional foundation for the second half to build on and gives emotional weight to Creasey’s actions
Man on Fire became an unlikely favorite for me in Scott’s body of work and I think it is better then critics give it credit for.
Side note: Watch Man on Fire then imagine Denzel Washington in a Parker movie.