'Man on Fire' Critic Reviews

94%
MovieWeb:   6 reviews
39%
Rotten Tomatoes:   172 reviews
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    17
    A coldly violent revenge drama that tarts up scenes of wanton sadism with lush art direction, and a spiritual story that invokes serious struggle and prayer for atmosphere rather than content.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • A.O. Scott New York Times (Top Critic)
    40
    [Scott's] fondness for intrusive, fake-stylish camera tricks -- jump cuts, speeded-up montages, abrupt changes in light, color saturation and focal depth -- has overwhelmed whatever story sense he once possessed.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Mike Clark USA Today (Top Critic)
    63
    Seventeen years from now, we may well remember this version of the story -- just as one remembers getting hammered on the head repeatedly with a 2-by-4.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Michael O'Sullivan Washington Post (Top Critic)
    Despite a red-hot performance by Washington as the antiheroic, self-annihilating title character, the film as a whole, while possessing a kind of vicious beauty, feels as cold and as embalmed as a corpse.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Desson Thomson Washington Post (Top Critic)
    A predictable, gruesome piece of business that tries to ennoble one-man vigilante justice with the star power of Denzel Washington.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Wesley Morris Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    13
    Ponderous and bloated.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • David Ng Village Voice (Top Critic)
    Intentional or not, Man on Fire's over-the-top evocation of Christian retribution goes a long way to making this otherwise standard revenge fantasy watchable.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Jack Mathews New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    88
    The first (nonreligious) sure thing to hit the multiplex this year.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Eric Harrison Houston Chronicle (Top Critic)
    42
    The movie appeals to baser instincts, and Scott's heavy-handed button-pushing stacks the deck.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Philip Wuntch Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    67
    At 142 minutes, Man on Fire is too long, but watching the mystery unravel is still jolly good fun.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Michael Booth Denver Post (Top Critic)
    50
    Punch drunk with sadism and sentimentality.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    63
    Tony Scott's Man on Fire employs superb craftsmanship and a powerful Denzel Washington performance in an attempt to elevate genre material above its natural level, but it fails.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Michael Wilmington Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    63
    Starts off as a good example of super-glitz moviemaking, gradually turns into a movie on fire -- another helter-skelter, big-studio spending spree.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Steven Rea Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    50
    Overblown, hyperactive.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Jeff Strickler Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    63
    [Washington] plays a cliched character in a by-the-numbers plot, but manages to make both acceptable on the sheer power of his screen presence.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    59
    Man on Fire lacks the depth to truly ignite the screen, so instead does a slow, steady burn. It singes beautifully, but never explodes.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Bill Muller Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    30
    At times, Man on Fire seems like it was filmed by a camera attached to a nervous hummingbird.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Rex Reed New York Observer (Top Critic)
    Suffice it to say nothing about this pumped-up, hyperthyroidal Tony Scott revenge flick makes sense, but it takes two hours to kill off as many people and demolish as many vehicles as Charles Bronson used to do in 30 minutes.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Todd McCarthy Variety (Top Critic)
    One of the more absorbing and palatable entries in the rather disreputable Death Wish-style self-appointed vigilante sub-genre.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Megan Lehmann New York Post (Top Critic)
    50
    Man on Fire feels vaguely like something left over from the 1980s, when action heroes were one-note tough guys methodically picking off baddies.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Jay Boyar Orlando Sentinel (Top Critic)
    60
    You'd have to call Man on Fire a mess, but at least it's an interesting mess.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Peter Howell Toronto Star (Top Critic)
    40
    Long and torturous.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Rick Groen Globe and Mail (Top Critic)
    50
    If your idea of a bargain is two bad movies for the price of one, then shell out for Man on Fire.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Stephanie Zacharek Salon.com (Top Critic)
    This movie isn't just about a kidnapping; it is a kidnapping, and we're the hostages.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
AVG. RATING 4.1 GREAT
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