man on Fire

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German title man on Fire
Original title Man on Fire
Country of production United States
original language English , Spanish
Publishing year 2004
length 141 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
JMK 16
Director Tony Scott
script AJ Quinnell ,
Brian Helgeland
production Arnon Milchan ,
Tony Scott,
Lucas Foster
music Harry Gregson-Williams
camera Paul Cameron
cut Christian Wagner

Man on Fire (Original Title: Man on Fire ) is an American drama film directed by Tony Scott from 2004 with Denzel Washington in the lead role. It is a remake of the thriller of the same name from 1987. Both films are based on the novel Man on Fire (German book title: Der Söldner ) by the author A. J. Quinnell .


In Mexico City kidnappings are commonplace. On the recommendation of his friend Paul Rayburn, the alcoholic and suicidal anti-terrorism expert John W. Creasy accepts a job as a bodyguard for the businessman Samuel Ramos, whose nine-year-old daughter Pita (short for " Lupita ") he is supposed to protect. Creasy is not good with people and is focused on his job. But after the initial distance, a friendly relationship soon develops between him and Pita. After a suicide attempt with his weapon, which failed due to the failure of a 9-mm cartridge to fire, the devout Creasy recovers and increasingly takes on the role of the often absent parent towards Pita.

After a piano lesson, Pita is kidnapped. During the exchange of fire with the kidnappers and the corrupt police officers involved, Creasy is seriously injured and falls into a coma . The kidnappers demand a $ 10 million ransom from their parents. The transfer of the money is sabotaged by another group of corrupt police officers belonging to the brotherhood "La Hermandad". During the exchange of fire between the police officers and the hostage-takers, the kidnapper's nephew dies. This then breaks off contact with the family and gives the impression that Pita was killed.

Creasy wakes up from a coma and, although far from recovering, sets out to find and kill everyone who was involved in the kidnapping. Due to her relationship with the former Interpol director Manzano, who now works in the department against corruption in the Mexican Federal Police, the journalist Mariana can provide valuable information on the investigation. Creasy receives friendly and moral help from his friend Paul Rayburn. Step by step, Creasy, who is slowly bleeding to death internally due to his severe injuries, works his way up the hierarchy of the professionally organized kidnapping gang, leaving behind a trail of blood and destruction. He discovers that the kidnapping of the father, who is in dire financial straits, and his shady lawyer Jordan Kalfus had been arranged and that it was planned to split the ransom money contributed by a kidnapping insurance company. Since the fake kidnapping did not go as smoothly as Kalfus had assured him, Pita's father kills the lawyer.

When Creasy goes to his parents to ask for an explanation, Samuel Ramos admits his involvement in the planned kidnapping of his daughter. Creasy leaves him his gun with the cartridge that failed when he attempted suicide. When Samuel Ramos pulls the trigger, the cartridge ignites, and he kills himself. Finally, Creasy takes the gang leader's brother "The Voice" hostage and offers him and himself in exchange for pita, since the gang leader claims that Pita is still alive. The exchange takes place on a remote bridge. Pita returns home with her mother, Creasy gets into the kidnapper's car, where he succumbs to his injuries. At the end you can see how “The Voice” is shot by Director Manzano when he is arrested.


  • Tony Scott was supposed to be directing the first film version in 1987, but the studio felt he had too little experience and passed the project on to director Elie Chouraqui .
  • The novel that served as the basis for the film is about a kidnapping by the Mafia in Italy , and the girl's name there is Pinta. After director Tony Scott moved the plot for the film to Mexico , the girl's name had to be changed to pita, as “pinta” also means “ whore ” in the vernacular there .
  • The film is marketed as a true story, and the fade-ins at the end also give this impression. The underlying book by AJ Quinnell is pure fiction, however.
  • The song Blue Bayou , which you hear in the film, is a new recording sung by Linda Ronstadt and originally by Roy Orbison .
  • The film soundtracks, which appear again and again in the film, were composed by the composer Lisa Gerrard . These soundtracks were later released in a single song (Lisa Gerrard - The End) and (Man Under Fire - The End) . The song The End contains all of the soundtracks found in the movie Man Under Fire .


In the US, the film largely fell through the reviews. Only 39% of the 161 reviews collected on Rotten Tomatoes were positive in their judgment. On Metacritic , Mann unter Feuer achieved a Metascore of 47% based on 36 reviews.

James Berardinelli wrote on ReelViews that the slow pace allowed the characters to develop and the relationships between them. The style was inspired by the station MTV and was "questionable", but not wrong. Berardinelli praised the portrayals of Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning.

The German-language website , on the other hand, was harshly judged with the film: They criticized that, although Tony Scott, Denzel Washington and Brian Helgeland “are actually associated with a minimum of quality”, Mann unter Feuer shows that “big names still exist long time no guarantee of great entertainment ”. In order to present “a serious character drama”, according to the review, “the characters are simply too simple, too one-dimensional” and “an arc of tension is barely recognizable”. Denzel Washington, who received an Oscar for best leading actor for the film Training Day in 2002 , is "completely underchallenged" in this film. The conclusion: "Too lengthy for an actioner, too superficial for a character drama."

The editorial team summed up the fact that Mann unter Feuer is a “very exciting and partly well-staged Revenge thriller”, with the fact that the film “takes time for characters and story” was positively emphasized. Washington delivers "a familiar, sovereign performance", and Dakota Fanning could "again demonstrate her talent" after her role in Ich bin Sam . However, director Tony Scott occasionally exaggerates with the "quick cuts", which is why the production sometimes seems "a bit overloaded".

The lexicon of international films judged: “Dark and fatalistic action film, condensed into a brilliant, stylized series of images. In the drastic depiction of vigilante justice, he transgresses all boundaries, with excessive violence lacking any credible context. "


  • Dakota Fanning was nominated for the Young Artist Award and the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award in 2005.
  • The film and its leading actor Denzel Washington were nominated for the 2005 Image Award.
  • For the soundtrack won Harry Gregson-Williams 2005 BMI Movie Music Award.
  • The German Film and Media Assessment FBW in Wiesbaden awarded the film the rating “particularly valuable”.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for man under fire . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , August 2004 (PDF; test number: 99 100 K).
  2. Age rating for man under fire . Youth Media Commission .
  3. ^ Trivia of the Internet Movie Database
  4. Man on Fire at Rotten Tomatoes (English)
  5. Man on Fire at Metacritic (English)
  6. Film review by James Berardinelli
  7. Man under fire on
  8. Man under fire on ( Memento from January 14, 2016 in the web archive )
  9. Man on fire. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  10. ^ Judgment of the German Film and Media Assessment