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May 18, 2004

Man on Fire

Can you kill the man who tried to kill you? Yes or No? If he is part of an organization, should you kill the organizers? If you could, would you?

It's very difficult to talk about Denzel Washington's latest film without also talking about Abu Ghraib and bunch of other stuff. As much as I want to keep the subjects apart, I cannot manage it. I am at the point at which I am wanting to make the film a litmus test for sense and sensibility over the question of Iraq, but in a deeper way. However instead of stringing this character study together with what I've been talking about in 'Monsters on a Leash', let it stand as a metaphor for the man who does democracy's dirty work and sacrifice. Denzel Washington has given us a performance for the ages which resonates in many directions.

Here's what I'm getting at. I am trying to break through a kind of social phlegm which I believe to be a self-imposed exile. It is part and parcel of my antagonism to that which I describe as 'dainty'. If I were to call it 'liberal' then it would score me points with my conservative brethren but that's not my aim. Rather I am trying to reveal a kind of denial which will get us in deeper trouble. In the context of Man on Fire, it is the denial that there is a necessary good in the dealing with evil in the harshest ways. I am trying to break through the denial that says there are no noble ends worthy of extreme prejudice.

If the Geneva Conventioneers go to the movies, they would certainly have to give a huge failing grade to the Man on Fire. However I don't think they would convince many Americans that this is not an extraordinarily moving film. But let me qualify that one more step. A moving film in the genre of action is what I'm talking about, and I realize that many Americans don't go to the theater in order to see action films. I don't quite know what to make of such Americans because the great advantage of going to such events is the technology of emergence possible with the large screen and the booming system. Unless you are one of the types who are unimaginative enough to consider 'Sleepless in Seattle' a good reason to date... excuse me, my demographic is showing. 15 years ago, I'd go for a Tarkofsky at the Nuart, these days I go for a Scott at the Bridge. As for Amelie, she waits for pay per view. What I expect from an action film goes beyond the boom to the character in focus, the hero. What is his code?

From the very opening credits, I was stunned at the brilliance of director Tony Scott's sensibilities with light and film. I have been watching a great deal of digital entertainment recently: digital shorts, gaming and game cut scenes. Scott's ability with film expresses a much larger visual vocabulary, and his facility with it is often breathtaking. It is an accelerated communication I am witnessing, the visual equivalent of New Yawkese at a rapid clip. Not since Soderbergh's 'Traffic' has this kind of film been made, and yet where Traffic is an investigation into a series of characters and tragedies, 'Man on Fire' comes down to one. What does it take to unravel the kind of organization that sanctions terror and extortion? What happens when a man who can, does with trained lethality?

Washington brings a gravity to the action hero previously unknown. I even heistate to call him an action hero or this an action film. He is deliberate without being obsessed. He is damaged without self-pity. He has no attitude whatsoever. I regard him as the man who stands in disbelief at the fact that he remains alive despite the great damage done to him. He is mortally wounded, and yet he persists, seemingly in defiance of God. He is aligned to his condemnation, but ultimately accepts the opportunity for redemption offered by chance.

Washington's John W. Creasy is a frightening individual. For he makes life and death decisions on his own. He follows his own conscience, not a manual. He isn't following orders or procedures of the sort which in a democracy give the public the confidence that all is well enough. He is a protector, and he is not merely satisfied with punishing. Instead he demonstrates that it is possible to destroy all corruption - the full plant, leaves, stalk and roots. He is not a professional in the justice system, he is investigator, judge, jury and executioner. He is a scarred warrior past all ideology surviving on bible verses, whiskey and the deadly drills of the counter-terrorist trade. He knows he has gone too far.

This makes him frightening not because he a loose cannon. He paces in a cage of his own creation. He dulls his own blade. He could be sharp, deadly but he chooses to be disengaged. Such a man defies what is often expected of an assassin. We have become used to the idea that no man is capable of all that, and that given any such capability such a man should work as part of a team. We are led to believe that there is a button that can be pushed, a memorandum of understanding corroboratively agreed upon which sets in motion a series of professional actors who bring evildoers to justice. And this is satisfactory for the bourgie American citizen. Were we to find John W. Creasy somewhere in that bureaucracy, were we to know his sources and methods, we would be crying "Who let the dogs out?". We would resist his truth. We could forgive an ignorant brute, but Creasy is neither. He is an artist of death, an assassin. Echoes of 'The Professional'. But Creasy is completely self-possessed. He is a man without external sanction.

Think of the adage 'Women and children first.' When a ship is sinking, this is the rule. Why? While everyone knows that cowards will try to escape and women will die, there is more than mere chivalrous attitudes. There is an understanding that dirty work and sacrifice must be done in the interests of human survival. There is so much of our economy and culture that is available to the weaker sex, that perhaps we have forgotten about blood, guts and glory. We forget that there are monsters which arise and so we create thoughtcrime out of that which would arm us for the unthinkable. These are the thoughtcrimes which become armor in the conflict we dread. Those are the thoughtcrimes that are Creasy's training - it's what keeps him alive in the in-between times.

I think 'Man on Fire' is an excellent parable and a tragic drama. Technology has enabled the ordinary thug to commit crimes like none other in history. In the cracks of our society grow dangerous weeds. If Creasy makes us uneasy it is because he is today's man fighting tomorrows battles. One day we may come to understand him better. Until then our sensibilities may be challenged by his methods, but that is not the worst thing we face. We face our own unwillingness to fight.

Posted by mbowen at May 18, 2004 03:01 PM

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Comments

I feel that Cobb's downing on The Man on Fire is simple evidence of Cobb's lack of taste in modern dramatic film. The movie plays in the end to be a true story. Wether this is true or not, I do not know, but what is true is the factor that Cobb's taste in cinema is probaly about as dull as his taste in women or his taste in life. He expresses his opinion in his essay and by that he express himself. The Man on Fire does not deserve a failing grade. Cobb deserves of failing grade for being so negetive and seeing that bad side in something truly good.

Posted by: Eric at September 15, 2004 07:48 PM

Yike.

Posted by: Cobb at September 15, 2004 08:23 PM

Man on Fire is frightening and very true. I dont know if it was based on a true story, but I tell you, these abductions are REAL. I am glad Cobb allowed everyone to see what goes on in Mexico and Latin America this very day, even though he probably didnt mean too....Why do I say this, because I knew someone who was abducted in Mexico, tortured and killed even after the ransom was paid. After seeing MAN ON FIRE, I felt really good the way Creasy took his vengeance. I wish I had the balls to do the same........Thanks Cobb, great film.

Posted by: Bobby at September 15, 2004 11:29 PM

Hey I have always loved the saying "Kill'em all and let God sort'em out!" Weather you like it or not there is good and evil in this world. Althought some can say put them in jail for life, I say dont waste my tax money on that. Evil people can not be rehabilitated. The only way to change there mind is a bullet to the head. That way we can all sleep well at night and never have to look over our shoulders again. Always fight and never give up! Semper Fi

Posted by: Jim at September 16, 2004 01:12 AM

Question?
Is this based on a true story?
And if not then why do they give him a date of birth and death?

Posted by: Cat at September 20, 2004 05:18 AM

To the first commenter, I think you missed the point of Cobbs review..."performance for the ages which resonates","stunned at the brilliance","excellent parable and a tragic drama", "brings a gravity to the action hero previously unknown". The review is positive in the way you would probably examine great tradgedies of the classics. This is a tragic story with excellent character developement.

True, the first few paragraphs Cobbs asks us to jump into the political fray, good versus evil, prejudice and puishment, etc... but asking us to think about it does not mean he was being negative about the movie as a whole.

Cobbs examination of the character; piecing the elements that make him to be who he is excellent.

Besides a few parts that where too "Hollywood" or staged too dramatic the story telling, photgraphy, directing, character develpoment and acting was EXCELLENT.

Posted by: DoubleB at September 21, 2004 06:51 AM

I think this film adds a lot of edge to the notion of "western justice". Washington did an amazing job in his portrayal of a bodyguard who's passion and necessity of purpose combine at just the right moment to create what a volcano. We see this image towards the end of the movie with denzel in the car driving down the road, the volcano smoking as if an eruption had just taken place (or perhaps it could be brooding). I think the movie certainly does ask a lot of questions with regard to what sort of actions are justifiable. The biggest problem with society today is that on both sides people are lining up to be the next John W. Creasy. If it were so easy for us to witness the kidnapping and see the killers in the eye, how simple it makes things in comparison to murmurings just below the surface of reality. When a soldier wanders down the streets of Iraq or any other country where he may or may not be welcome he must wonder who's friend and who's foe. At the same time there are those in the foreign countries who had nothing to do with any of the conflicts until they find troops on their own soil. Obviously I can't think of anyone who would sympathise with the terrorists who attacked the world trade centers. But I wonder if there aren't those in Iraq who feel compelled to protect what, they feel, is under attack. It could be caused by a lack of understanding on their part, a misinterpreted action. It's a shame that U.S. soldiers have to fight people who never wanted to go to war in the first place. There was a section in the BBC news today by paul wood that said "At the height of the crisis, a leading Shia figure in Basra told a British Brigadier: 'There are lots of moderates here who support you. But if the shrines are touched, I'll kill you myself.'" I think this illustrates my point. These people think they are John Creasy. They are doing what they feel is morally correct. In this day and age if something is wrong you need to get it at the source, just like Creasy. If Saddam is the problem you assasinate him. If someone else is the problem (and i'm not talking about a political nuisance) then they are dealt with. Let the everyday citizen go about their lives. It is unfair for them to get dragged into a war they never necessarily wanted in the first place. The world should not be about sending thousands of troops to deal with your problems, it needs to be dealt with mano a mano. Thought provoking film.

Posted by: mark at September 21, 2004 08:57 PM

i'd do the same as creasy

Posted by: Dave at September 21, 2004 10:03 PM

I'm with Cat - does anyone know if this is based on a true story? Given the dates of Creasy's death (Dec 16, 2003) and the release of the movie, it would almost seem impossible. Like Cat, I wondered why the date of birth and death were given. Just curious. Regardless, it was a very powerful film.

Posted by: Lisa at September 25, 2004 06:03 PM

Hell yey! Creasy Rocks!

Semper fi do r die

Posted by: Pit at September 30, 2004 03:08 PM

Dakota was awesome.....Her and Creasy's relationship seems very realistic. A little girl can really pull on those heart strings.

Posted by: kssd at October 1, 2004 04:28 PM

john creasy can suck these nutts

Posted by: Brian at October 2, 2004 07:51 PM

That was the best movie I have ever seen. I can't believe how it evoked so many emotions within me. I really liked it. AND YES- WAS JOHN W CREASY a real person????

Posted by: D at October 3, 2004 08:58 PM

Yea i wanna know to.. was it based on a real story was John Creasy real? or based on a real person?

Posted by: Julie Adams at October 10, 2004 07:21 AM

**** Just wondering like everyone else...did John Creasy really exist? Was the film based on a true story. Let us know.

Posted by: M.Coelho at October 14, 2004 11:24 AM

denzel was awsome in this movie.this is the best movie i have ever saw.

Posted by: brandon at October 17, 2004 04:56 PM

I am like quite a few people that want to know, was this based on a real story? It doesnt state that but at the end they give some specific dates.I know that if one of my children were kidnapped, Id kill for them even if it meant giving my own life. It is sad to see people destroying other peoples lives over money but the government isnt a whole lot better. The system doesnt always help "the" people as they should. I know because Ive been on the other end and I have very little belief in the system.

Posted by: Brenda O'Neil at October 18, 2004 02:38 AM

Man on Fire is actually a fictional tale based on real life events in Italy in the 70s. At the time, Rome was the kidnapping capital of the world. Tony Scott originally wanted to make the movie back then, but the deal fell through. When things lined up later, he moved the venue to Mexico City and picked Denzel to do the role.

Denzel was always only in character even when the cameras stopped rolling. He thinks the little girl is one of the best actors he's ever known.

Posted by: cobb at October 18, 2004 08:23 AM

John Creasy is real However his last name is not Creasy. Creasy was his nickname. He was a highly decorated Marine, force recon operator who traing covert ops in South America for DEA/CIA. He was also one of the best cleaners in the US arsenal (assasin)!
He then got out turned into a druk and well you saw the rest of the movie. Look hard and you can find the real story!

Posted by: tdog at October 24, 2004 09:44 AM

Sheer brilliance as Denzel proves that he will for along time be Academy Award material

Posted by: elliad at October 25, 2004 08:32 AM

what was Creasy's D.O.B.?

Posted by: riccij21 at October 26, 2004 08:33 PM

It's amazing the ignorance of some, When I saw this film be true or not in this case all I saw was reality, See this incidents do occure and more often than your secluded, wonderland ingnorant minds not to be rude but true, By the way I'm a Mexican/American individual that has lived both sides and also a partaker (you might call it victim) of a case that makes Man On Fire look like Mickey Mouse. People wake up and smell the roses and be alert more now then ever other wise it will be a continuation of geting cut with your pants down cases. thank you much and please don't take this as an opinion or critic just the truth.

Posted by: Pancho at October 28, 2004 09:17 AM

Please I would like to know if the film was based on a true story....
Apart from that I think its the best film I ever seen because it contains everything...I liked it a lot....But I really would like to know if this was real

Posted by: Carlos at October 30, 2004 08:45 PM

i loved the movie, denzel and dakota deserve an award for their performance....this is the best movie of the year.
its good a movie about the kidnappings are out in public, if john w creasy was real isnt important to me as long as the world knows about what going on in mexico, give them a little information so they can do their own research and find more information.
the movie was A+++++ 2 THUMBS UP! EVERYONE SHOULD WATCH IT

Posted by: hannah at November 1, 2004 06:54 AM

is this based on a true story....if so whee could I get more information on the life and death of "The Voice" Daniel Sanchez?

Posted by: lakyshia at November 6, 2004 12:43 PM

I've read all of these comments, and while I think everyone has a valid point, I feel that there was one or two comments that I do not agree with. Being in the military, I can honestly say that at no point is the movie "too Hollywood". What point was too Hollywood? When he shot an RPG out of a window at an SUV? Tell that to my fellow Marines in Iraq. When he cut off the guys fingers? Tell that to Nick Berg, Oh, you can't.....he got his head cut off. You would be surprised how much you can take when the adrenaline is pumping. He got shot too many times???? Tell that to the guy that lives in LA. He was shot by the LAPD's Rampart Division when they were crooked. IN THE HEAD, AND THE CHEST!!! So once again, what part was "too Hollywood"?

Posted by: Uncle Richie at November 7, 2004 11:54 AM

I thought that Man on Fire was one of the most moving movies i've ever seen. Also I too would like too find out if the movie was real and John Creasy's real name and history. I also had one thought, in the scene where Creasy got shot up by the crooked cops, I thought, Why isn't he wearing a bullet proof vest? If you're in that line of work you'd think you'd drop a few hundred bucks on one, It'd be worth it's weight in gold.

Posted by: sophmore at November 9, 2004 07:29 PM

I want see the pictures of John W. Creasy

Posted by: Shawn Ewing at November 11, 2004 10:35 AM

To the person that is to question what is to HOLLYWOOD!!!!!! Well I can say that yes what happend in that movie can very well happend!People can get shot alot!! and still live! Well trained people can also do alot of damage with many weapons!! Furthemore tactics from along time ago were more ugly!such as cutting fingers to get info.However years ago, we had more human intel.Plust got away with more. There are alot of differnt things that can happend in combat. With differnt levels of training come a differnt soldier. For one thing a few highly trained soldiers can confuse a larger army. It happends! people think its unreal! I tell you its not!!! You can find storys on it.One things for shure! soldiers all have a good heart! and love the country ! no matter what skill level they are! they all put there life on the line! and in that, they are all equal

Posted by: Philip at November 12, 2004 01:11 PM

the film was FANTASTIC! good job by all actors,couldnt fault film in any way.yes the burning question is "is it a true story", well ive read some of the comments above and there are a few theories,so i will have to investigate myself to see if i can cure my satisfaction for the thirst of knowledge!if i get concrete evidence,or another theory,b sure i will write back! jane aged 25

Posted by: jane at November 13, 2004 03:23 PM

I HAVE THE ANSWER!!ive just spent the last half an hour researching on the net and the facts are as follows....man on fire with denzel washington is a re make of the film man on fire made in 1987 starring scott glen.b4 that it was a book called man on fire written bt A.J.Quinnell. CREASY is a fictional character that A.J.Q created using a friends name and other friends experiences and tales from africa and vietnam,to create the personality.but he says it was based on an actual event in italy 1975.after abit of searching i found a website dedicated to A.J.Q by a fan of his work,and encloses a letter from AJQ plus up to date q's and a's about the latest film man on fire.and as for the dates of creasy's life and death,seems to of been added by 20th century fox and AJQ is still trying to find out the source of whom added it. i hope i have answered a few of ur q's,i enjoyed researching it,and even if no one reads this,i put my own mind at rest! jane aged 25 hampshire

Posted by: jane at November 13, 2004 04:21 PM

I have for the first time watched " Man on Fire".
NOTHING WAS TO HOLLYWOOD.
This should be Mandatory, to be shown to all the FLAG BURNERS and RUNNERS to other countries. It is a shame that life is not a bed of flowers!! Some one has to put the compost down.
Both hands up for this movie.
Thank_you
Joe Miller,
A Combat Veteran that lived

Posted by: Joe miller at November 13, 2004 08:07 PM

What was the websites address?

Posted by: Chris at November 13, 2004 09:29 PM

This movie pissed me off. Its too damn accurate, well written and performed. So...to that end, congrats. After seeing it I wanted to don my Orkin suit and go hunting. Good job all.

Posted by: may trix at November 14, 2004 02:15 PM

Just saw the movie on DVD. Boy oh boy. Reality bites. I was on fire myself. I'm not very good on words. But I'm sure everyone who's posted here agrees that it's an awesome awesome movie. True or not, it's chilling. I wish there were more John W. Creasys out there. Peace!

Posted by: Harvey at November 16, 2004 01:18 AM

There is always one beautiful thing about making a movie, if you mess up a shot there is always a retake. When one takes it upon themselves to take anothers life, there is no retake.
I just watched the movie, and I wanted to kill the antagonists as much as anyone. I just don't think that it is as simple as that. There is a line early in the movie, when Washington asks Walken if he thought God would ever forgive them for what they had done. You can sell your soul to the devil to kill off all the people who in your eyes are "bad," only to find out that other weeds have sprung up in their place.
I am not suggesting that we don't fight the evil in the world. Fighting the evil is the noblest endeavor one can take upon themselves.
I refuse to accept that with all of the brilliant minds in the world, that our best weapon for fighting evil is to try and destroy it after it has crept into our lives.
I just want everyone to look deep within themselves and ask some deeper questions. Instead of asking would I be able to follow the example of a character like Creasy, ask should I. Where does the killing stop. Someone kills my friend, so I kill them. Then their friend kills me, and my friend kills them.
My hero has always been Gandhi. Like him there are things in this life that I am willing to fight for, even die for. I don't know if I could make such a permanent decision, like ending the life of another, without wondering who gave me the right to end their life.
An earlier comment was made about tax dollars being used to incarcerate criminals for the rest of their lives. What is the dollar value of your soul and peace of mind?
I have spent many hours thinking about the death penalty. I do believe that in certain cases, an eye for an eye is appropriate. In all those hours I have learned that I am not intelligent enough to know when it is appropriate. Are you? This is why I believe in jury trials. When one person has clouded reason, more heads are better than one.
I loved this movie. I hope that in similar situations I would have the courage to give my life for another. I hope, however, that would be Creasies out there don't get me caught in their crosshairs while they are out on a mission to destroy the horrible evil of someone having different beliefs than they. I believe that this movie portrays one of the situations when an eye for an eye is appropriate. The responses on this site have shown me, that were this a jury trial, "La Voz" would have been put to death. I just want to point out, in the movie 10+ people died or were killed because of the death of a little girl, who ended up not being dead. Hindsight is always 20/20. I also want to say that I recognize that in this story no other innocent young girls would be kidnapped with the demise of the crime ring.
Is there any possible way to stop the crime ring before it is established? After spending the last 4+ years teaching other peoples children, the answer is good parenting. I am a neuroscientist, and I don't believe that criminals are born, they are made.
After watching a movie like this, I believe that everyone that is a parent, or is going to become a parent, should recognize the immense responsibility that they have.
I hope that we all recognize the enormous responsibility we have, to cohabitate this planet with EVERYONE that lives on it.

Posted by: Michael Kent at November 17, 2004 10:27 PM

it is one of the best movies i've seen. there are a lot of true facts, 3000 kidnappings in mexico city last year. not just the rich but the middle class also. type "mexico city kidnappings" on google and it will make you want to stay away from that place.

Posted by: john at November 18, 2004 08:44 PM

Just saw the movie "Man on Fire" on PayPerView. Awesome. Creasy is a fictional character in spite of the 'obituary' at the end. Here's a website with the straight dope by the author http://web.singnet.com.sg/~tonym/quinnell.html

Posted by: Darlene at November 19, 2004 10:26 PM

this is jane age 25 hampshire.....i did include the website address in my conclusions of the evidence of it being a true story etc...(read above)_ but seems to of been edited out,which is fare play i suppose,but am willing to give again if ur aloud to e-mail me direct, wildtiger130@hotmail.com

Posted by: jane at November 20, 2004 12:50 PM

neuroscientist Kent...your a dumbass!

Posted by: B at November 20, 2004 10:15 PM

In the American mental state where legalisms (procedures rules litigation and law) go hand in hand with the brainless gratuitious unprincipled violence (of drivebys, police intrusions, and attacks on civilians, making us all too civilized and victims of controll and lack thereof) this movie goes to the issues beyond the rational of logic and wantoness by connecting in a ZEN like manner the delusions of power, entrenched corrupt corporate hacks, to organized crime, gangs, corrupt police, and everyday life:

Where I was impressed and reminded of the "Seven Samurai" in what I what hope was the rule rather than the exception. A good movie to see in a parrallel conceptual movie though not of the same Rank is "saw" where a psycho gets others to act on twisted bizarre "jigsaw" murders, multilation, self-multilation, lying and torture.

Posted by: 007 at November 23, 2004 09:36 AM

I just want to say that I LOVED this movie and have never felt this way to a movie before. I think about it all the time and wonder how lucky I am to live in such a good place. I jus also have a question: Is mexico such a cruel place, do people like the ones that kidnapped Peta exist and if they do, do they do like in the movie (torture the victims then ask for money?? Thank you!!

Posted by: Simone at November 25, 2004 12:09 AM

I just watched the movie, wow. It evoked emotions I try to hide. I hate crying with movies. I feel like a sissy.. but it really made me feel and think. Revenge is best served cold... When someone does you wrong, you plot, boy did I plot, But I feel that revenge can only be pure, complete, as Creasy's, if you have nothing to lose. Taking it as far as you can no matter what path, dignity or weapon you choose. I have too much to lose, three reasons. The bullet missed the first time, the second time around revenge can take its own, you get whats comming to ya... I smiled when he blew his head off. It was the right thing to do.
-31, San Diego - sngl-3 kids

Posted by: GinaMarie at November 25, 2004 07:45 PM

I just watched the film, and I thought it was great. The meaning behind the movie is deeper than you think. Bad guys should go down. We should get answer to questions from terrorists in this exact manner. There is evil in this world but the GOOD will conquer. Tuff love is sometimes the only way to handle the situation.
You love the good ones so you get rid of the bad.
Way to go Cobb. Great film and the meaning behind it.

Posted by: Sue at November 25, 2004 08:42 PM

That was one of the most amazing movies I ever saw. Definite Top10 in my list.

Posted by: Bt. at November 26, 2004 08:09 AM

My partner and I just watched Man On Fire, it is damn brilliant, we need more Creasys in this world. If anyone ever touched one of my children I would do a Creasy all over his and his familys ass.

And no I wont be going too Mexico or any of the places where kidnappings happen.

Wendy UK

Posted by: Wendy at November 27, 2004 04:50 PM

ANSWER TO SIMONE. Yes kidnappers in Mexico really torture people to get money out of their families. They cut off fingers and ears and send them to their families to proof that they really have their relatives and asks for large sums of money. If families don't pay for the rescue they really kill them. Also, Yes corrupted police members are involved in these crimes and there is a lot of organizations just like "La Hermandad" mentioned in the movie. Also there are "secuestros express" which means x-press kidnapping where people kidnap someone for just a few minutes and what they normally do is take this people to an atm by force (most of the time beat them) and have them take money out of there bank accounts to steal it from them. I hope this answers your question wether this was real or not. In the movie the kidnapping part seems very realistic although the vengance does not. So this is a pretty good example on how kidnapping is done in Mexico and I mean the whole country not just Mexico city. Don't be afraid though, if you are planning to visit Mexico because they don't do that to tourist. They do that to people they've been watching for a long time and that they know for sure that they will be able to get some money out of them. I would like to recommend you "SIX DAYS IN THE DARK" A mexican film now in blockbuster that is another example of kidnapping in Mexico. It may seem unreal but it has happen more than once in Mexico. Let me know if you like it post your comment here or e-mail me @ bernardowork@yahoo.com

Posted by: Bernard at November 29, 2004 08:01 AM

I have just spent the last half an hour reading all your comments, and I think that yes the film was a fantastic and moving movie, nothing too exremely hollywood and very little (if any) C.G.I. I give the film my best personal rating, which I have never done before... so lets go with tennis balls, Man on Fire deserves a 5 out of 5 tennis balls. Great action, great drama, fantastic actors/storyline.

P.S. - Upon reading all the comments, I saw numerous spelling and grammatical errors, please proofread your words people, it only makes you look un-intelligent.

Posted by: Josh Bogrow at November 30, 2004 06:36 AM

Decent movie, pretty entertaining. As for the true story thing, the end credits say:
"The events, characters and firms depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or firms is purely coincidental."

Posted by: esp at December 1, 2004 09:19 AM

Ok, I too enjoyed this movie, and I too was curious to kow if this was a true story or not, due to the date of birth listed at the end. BUT I also have one other curiosity -- what did the brown coloring of the water surrounding Creasy in each of the swimming pool scenes mean?? I thought I really paid attention to every detail of the film, but could not figure out what that meant. Please help :-)

Posted by: Glenna at December 1, 2004 11:36 PM

im not sure it is a true story, i was absolutely concvinced it was at the end of the movie. but then i looked the the keywords "man on fire" at www.imdb.com (left panel near the top). three movies showed in the primary search. the one movie, 2004, which was the recent, the previous movie, 1987 which was also based on a guy called creasy, only in this case he "protected a rich american family". is it possible he came back to life and migrated to mexico? i don't know why the director leads us to think the event happened truly and recently, by adding death dates. doesn't make sense, and i really am disappointed in a way.

Posted by: Yaseen at December 2, 2004 03:15 PM

I wanna know if this is a true story.

Posted by: Tristen at December 2, 2004 07:42 PM

i just would like to know were i can fine the real info. about john w. creasy... a man like dat is a real hero... to us all ... for coming from beening a great military personal and become a druk.and all dat to become a hero in all r hearts...

Posted by: danny at December 3, 2004 12:41 PM

Hey, I just whatched the movie and it was amazing. not over done, and not past a point in which i feel revenge goes to far in our hearts. I mean come on, tell me that when they found out that their daughter was dead, any of you didnt want john creasy to go "hunting". i know i was like "HELL YEAH" when that guy got the colon blow. but, i totally agree with mr. michael kent that we are not individually apt to judge an eye for an eye and leave the rest for god. and its never right to take anothers life irresposibly. and ghandi is a hero to many people past and present. i would like to ask, who knows what similarity ghandi and martin luther king had in common. anybody? well they both made a huge impact in our history. ghandi freed his country from british rule and tyrany without resorting to violence. NOT ONE FINGER HARMED! they actually had a parade downtown london celebrating. now mr.king went and studied under ghandi for a time and learned how to influence people without resorting to meaningless violence. there were groups like the black panthers that made, (in comparison to mr. king) smaller contibutions but after sacrafincing so much life. the wars we have waged and sorrowed over, the wars we are fighting today were nessesary for me to have the freedom to type this message today. i'm not a U.S citizen, and i defitnatly do not condone the strong arm Bush has decided to use in those countries. He's clearly gone to far. but thats another topic.
My point here is that john was a man with nothing to lose, who had something he had grown to love taken away from him. it was a great revenge movie, well done. but people have to realize not to be biased about it. don't just watch the movie and say "i'm never going to mexico". thats not a very intelligent thing to do. BE SMART PEOPLE. i like this movie but as far as feel good revenge movies i also recommend "papparazi" not as contraversial as man on fire but it does the trick. and mr. kent i opolojize fer eny spelin mistakes i hav mayd. lata guys.
J.

Posted by: jason at December 3, 2004 01:14 PM

OKAY. It is a fiction developed from events occuring since the 1970s. J. W. Creasy does (did) not exist, although we'd like to believe so.

JASON. The peace loving people of the world have dangerous men to thank for their right to do so. Never forget that the only way to effectively deal with a terrorist (that is what kidnapping for ransom is - terrorism) is to kill him. And as for your comments about Bush - he did NOT act alone. What if Roosevelt and Churchhill had no acted against the axis powers? What language would you speak today? Would MLK have been alive long enough to become the great man that he was? Leave politics to politicians and war to warriors, okay. If you have a better, "workable" solution to terrorism and despots such as Saddam Hussein, the world is all ears, buddy.

Oh, and I'm never going to Mexico (again). The place is just one step from the third world. A very short step.

Posted by: Name withheld by request at December 3, 2004 08:34 PM

I have now watched this movie twice and I have to say it is more powerful the second time than the first. I was disturbed by the comments of some regarding Mexico City and "staying away from that place". Though there are many kidnappings, it is unfair to condemn a city, or country because of the awful things that are happening. It is better to understand than to condemn. We should not be thinking of staying away, but thinking of some way to help resolve the issue.
Thanks to all the postings, it is interesting to see what others thought of the movie and the issue at hand.

Posted by: Jac at December 4, 2004 01:18 AM

really i can not find words to express about this film , this film make me happy,sad,cry and more.This is a great movie
thanks for all who work in the film team
and i wish if some one tell me is it true story or not

Posted by: Ahmed Talaat at December 4, 2004 07:03 PM

so does john creasy exist? or use to
and did la hermandad exist too?

Posted by: erica at December 4, 2004 09:37 PM

This was an awesome movie, I loved it! Being a Marine myself and also an expert in weapons, there was only one true flaw that I saw in this movie. When Samuel Ramos was given the Glock 17 9mm pistol to kill himself. Just one bullet, he took it and put it down the pipe (barrel) and then slammed the slide home. This does not work on a glock. You MUST have the bullet in the magazine and then the magazine loaded into the weapon and then send the slide home. It's a safety feature from Glock. You can do it with a Baretta, but not a Glock. So, for all you Glock owners or want to be owners, remember that safety tip, load it from the magazine.

Posted by: N2U at December 6, 2004 08:55 AM

To esp:
The brown water surrounding creasy when he jumps in the pool is blood...others', his...whatever...try it some time.

Posted by: kepi blanc at December 7, 2004 12:32 PM

denzel was awsome in this movie.this is the best movie i have ever saw.did John Creasy really exist? Was the film based on a true story.

-For all the people saying john w.creasy is not really,HE IS,my backround is mexican my family and i were born there and i have a book of the john w.creasy that i was given in a town called (Mi Vero)there is a women who knows aloy about john w.creasy.She has every thing about him she has a article of hem when he once came out in the newspaper and she has really pictures of hem.
so is the movie based on a ture story.......YES and is john w.creasy a really person........YES

p.s. denzel look nothing like john w.creasy

Posted by: cb at December 9, 2004 01:52 PM

Yes it is a true story. John was a facinating man. Without a doubt it was a great film by Mr Washington, and in my opinon is academy worthy.

Posted by: Jimij at December 12, 2004 05:35 PM

No, I don't think it's a true story, probably based on a true event, but not a true story. If it was, it would be all over the news. I don't see the point of hiding the truth. After all I really thought the story itself, if true, is very much newsworthy. Like every movie, I think the decision to make the audience believe that it was true is simply the artist's (film maker) way of exercising his or her artistic freedom. To me it doesn't matter whether this is an actual event or not, what matters is that events like these do exist every day in other parts of the world, and its good to be aware of them.

cholocs@hotmail.com

Posted by: RJ at December 15, 2004 09:06 PM

Ok, im going to try and sort this out once and for all. It is not known whether this movie is true or not. The movie is based on a book, writter by an Itallian author. Ths author was known for writing books pseudo style, in other words, books based on events he had expewrienced. But he never states that the book was an experience of his own, or anyone elses, so it is not clear whther the book is based on actual events. Look up this movie at yahoo, and you will understand the truth behind the movie. The book is based on the mafia, and has nothing to do with mexico.

Posted by: Yaseen at December 18, 2004 06:19 AM

That is a TRUE story i am from mexico city and it happend in mexico city in 2002.Kids get kidknapped every day there just like every where else in this world but there it is more eaiser because there are sooo many people it might not be the biggest place but it is infack packed full of people it is hard to move to go in drive there is no reason to have a car it is faster just to walk but... yes it is infack a true story it did happen to a real girl and Creasy is a real person. It was a GREAT movie!!!

Posted by: millie at December 19, 2004 01:05 PM

I think that Eric should be given a failing grade for spelling negative, negetive. If your going to ridicule Cobb, who was intelligent enough to make this movie, be intelligent enough to spell simple words correctly.

Posted by: Learn to spell at December 21, 2004 09:26 PM

hey

i saw that some one said on here "Evil people can not be rehabilitated. The only way to change there mind is a bullet to the head. That way we can all sleep well at night and never have to look over our shoulders again" well sorry to tell u this but evil people can be rehabilitated and have in the past. Just because somebody goes out and kills somebody or kidnappes a child does not mean that they are evil.. it mean that they have a mental illness and that also can be helped with the right kind of help. so dont say that "Man On Fire" basically says that u should kill other people that do the same..that is bull crap and i u need to get help if u feel that u people should kill kidnappers and murderers..if u do so u are going to be standing in front of our master and TRYING to explain why u did that and u wont cause one of the ten commandments says "Thou Shall Not Kill" let God deal with those people...so thanks Cobbs."YOU" are right on everything u said.

Posted by: Gabe at December 22, 2004 02:33 PM

Yes, it's true! Millions are kidnapped in Mexico every year! I was kidnapped several years ago and was only safely returned after the police found me four days later in a filthy basement of a bordello. My wife was so upset that she swore up and down never to let me go out for the evening with my colleagues again. That's when the kidnapping happened. I was supposed to be home by 10pm, but I didn't return for another 84 hours!!! My kidnappers made me drink booze, smoke cigars, go to some sort of nude bar with animals, and other terribly bad things. I'm lucky to be alive, I tell you!

Posted by: Brother Dave at December 22, 2004 10:15 PM

In my opinion, none of us has the right to condemn,critic or back what john creasy has done..whther he is fictional or real, given the circumstances, MOST of us would not have what it takes to perform what he did..& none of us are morally correct enuff ourselves to judge him,& if GOD exists, HE alone would have the power to deem Creasy right or wrong.....what i am pretty sure of is that this is a great movie,regardless of the critiques or praises...as can be seen by the number of emotions it has stirred in all the above & i believe soon to come, comments....personally tho, if Creasy were a real person, his shrine would be on my doorstep...if not for his love, it would be for his courage...peace

Posted by: Eric at December 23, 2004 01:02 PM

F everybodys I....I am not the Eric who spelt negative as "negetive".......just so u know....it's terrifying being on the wrong side of a weapon incorrectly pointed at u....heh...peace

Posted by: Eric_tang at December 23, 2004 01:08 PM

i saw the movie today and jesus the movie was great i made it one of my best..my opinon i know is true i am from puerto rico but i know about situations like it in south america i seen the news but i really didnt like cobb opinion but thats hes opinion

Posted by: justchris at December 23, 2004 11:02 PM

Hi, I can write in English but I like mi languaje:

Yo soy de Mexico Citym he visto la pelicula y 2 cosas me llamaron la atencin; la primera que la nia PITA le preguta a su Bodyguard que si es malo o bueno ser negro (afro) en Mxico; y la segunda Por que si Creasy era un hombre entrenado y con experiencia en muchos paises, en Mxico se encontr con gente que son como serpientes y ah perdi la vida?

Gracias

Posted by: David Israel at December 24, 2004 12:45 PM

The stuff in the water is the blood from his previous wounds. If you listen when he is about to leave the "dog kennel" the doctor says if he doesn't rest he will die. Then later it shows him wrapped up and you can see blood where he was shot.

Posted by: shawn at December 29, 2004 08:08 PM

OK, WE DONT KNOW IF THE MOVIE WAS REAL OR NOT. SO LETS JUST DROP IT!!!!!!!! IF THE MAN HAD DIED IN 2003 THEN THEY WOULD NOT HAVE HAD ENOUGH TIME TO MAKE A MOVIE ABOUT IT. (DUH)LETS STICK TO THE POINT DENZEL WAS AWSOME!!!!! THR LITTLE GRIL WAS GREAT AND YES THE IS DEFFINATELY GETTING ALL THE AWARDS NEXT YEAR. CONGRATS TO ALL THE CAST MEMBERS IN THE MOVIE YOU ALL WERE GREAT.

Posted by: ddash1t at December 31, 2004 12:50 PM

Yes I am real, and yes I am typing this from the great beyond. Thank you for all your concern, comments, praise. To those people who felt the need to criticize me ...@$#% you 'cause I don't care!

;) pmsl

Posted by: John W. Creasy at January 3, 2005 01:32 AM