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Man on Fire

April 26, 2007

In compliance with a recommendation from my older brother, I watched Man on Fire a couple of weekends ago.  Because no one else in my family was really interested in or allowed to watch this movie, I watched it one listless Saturday afternoon by myself.

The movie was definitely entertaining.  I found it quite humorous (in a sad way) that there was so much corruption portrayed in Mexico’s government and authorities because I know that this is true.  But then again, Man on Fire is not light fare.  It deals with the very serious and sad subject of kidnappings and murder.  Man on Fire is the kind of movie that you watch to feel inspired or changed.  It’s a movie that really makes you think.

I’ve been wondering if what Denzel Washington’s character of Creasy did in the story is justifiable or not.  Basically, after the girl he was hired to protect gets kidnapped, Creasy goes on a rampage, killing most of those involved with the kidnapping.  Yes, the girl’s family tried to get her back lawfully at first, but when the man in charge of the operation turned out to be in cahoots with the kidnappers, it is the last straw for Creasy.  As a friend of my brother’s soberly remarked to him, it would almost seem that Mexico City needs a professional assassin to go through the underground and weed out the many evil people involved in murders and kidnappings, for up to this point the government has seemed unable to.

So does the fact that his bloody work is necessary justify what Creasy does?  Probably not.  But then, the Bible does command that kidnappers should be put to death, and if the government (which holds the sword to execute this judgment) is too corrupt to do anything, who will?  It is a question that is really worth pondering. Besides, I think the movie’s themes shows that it is not just mindless entertainment about killings and death.  Ultimately, while it deals a lot with both these subjects, the main themes in Man on Fire are about redemption and life.  The ending to the movie is probably one of the best I’ve ever seen.  Man on Fire isn’t a perfect movie, and it isn’t a lighthearted, fun movie either.  But it’s a movie worth watching because it reminds us that, no matter how dark our past is, there’s always a second chance to be found in love.

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