Directed by: Elie Chouraqui
Starring: Scott Glenn, Joe Pesci, Jade Malle, Jonathan Pryce, Brooke Adams, and Danny Aiello
John Creasy (Glenn) is a grizzled ex-CIA agent who has seen it all. Thanks to his friend David (Pesci), he takes a job in Italy, protecting a 12-year-old girl, Samantha (Malle) from the kidnapping danger sweeping Italy at the time. Her parents, Jane and Michael (Adams and Pryce, respectively) are never around so Creasy ends up spending a lot of time with Sam, as she likes to be called. At first he resists the relationship, but eventually he warms to her and they forge a real and solid bond. It’s just at that point, of course, that baddies get the jump on Creasy and indeed kidnap the girl. Now with nothing to lose, Creasy loads up on guns and sets out to find Sam and get revenge on her captors, especially ringleader Conti (Aiello). Will he do it?
We really liked Man On Fire. It’s sort of the Taken (2008) of its day, mixed with a little Death Wish (1974)...alright, maybe it’s not quite as awesome as a mixture of those two classics might imply, but it is a worthwhile movie with a classier-than-usual vibe, and the top-notch cast and Italian settings add a lot. But truly the star of the show is Scott Glenn, who puts in a great performance as the troubled Creasy. Even his name sort of implies the world-weariness you can see on his face (“creases”). At first, he resembles Chuck Norris, but what’s cool is, when he sets out on his revenge mission, he shaves his beard, cuts his hair and starts wearing sunglasses, as if to say, “No more games. You’re all gonna die”. The movie is worth seeing for Glenn alone.
Acting as his foil is Joe Pesci, who really rocks out on his own version of “Johnny B. Goode” on acoustic guitar. This display of musical talent was obviously a precursor to his eventual CD release. That aside, what sets apart Man On Fire is the fact that it takes its time to develop the relationship between Sam and Creasy. And because it’s European, it’s all done very artistically. Perhaps the only drawback is there should have been a little MORE revenge (and there are some parts that are a little confusing) but all in all Man On Fire is definitely worth seeing.
For a quality revenge thriller, Man On Fire fits the bill.
NOTE: The movie was released on Vestron on VHS in the U.S., and before the movie there is a trailer for Amsterdamned (1988). This is the only place we know where you can see this particular trailer.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty