Denzel goes crazy for kidnappers

Kidnapping, to many of us, is a foreign concept. However, to many people from Mexico it means living in constant fear.

“Man on Fire” is a movie that captures your heart, yet stuns the viewers with the action in it. It is truly one of the best movies Denzel Washington has starred in.

A scary statistic introduces the film: there is one kidnapping every 60 minutes in Latin America; 70 percent of those kidnapped do not survive.

Set in Mexico City, John W. Creasy (Washington) is an assassin who starts working for rich businessman Samuel Ramos (Marc Anthony) as a bodyguard to protect his daughter Lupita Ramos, also known as Pita (Dakota Fanning) from kidnappers.

Young Pita takes an immediate liking to Creasy and names her bear “Creasy Bear,” while Creasy remains indifferent toward her.

Gradually, she begins to win him over; this is noticeable when Pita wins first place in her swimming competition and they engage in a father-daughter-like hug.

For most of the first half, the movie focuses on the relationship between Pita and Creasy.

Viewers begin to wonder when the action will begin, but it is important that the audience understand the special bond between the two.

The film seems to drag early on, but picks up at the right moment.

The film shows the tension the feelings of insecurity of the people that kidnapping has created.

This is evident when Creasy is forced to show identification at Pita’s school when he picks her up, and signs in after dropping her off at school.

The mood of the film completely changes when Creasy takes Pita to her first violin lesson.

In this dramatic scene, Creasy realizes something is wrong and yells for Pita to run; a gunfight erupts, he gets shot and Pita is kidnapped.

Meanwhile, the kidnappers have arranged a date and time with the Ramos family as to how and when the $10 million ransom will be left in exchange for Pita.

Despite Samuel following the instructions, the drop goes wrong and the negotiations end there. Pita is left for dead while a somewhat recovered Creasy adapts his role as an assassin, taking it upon himself to avenge Pita’s death.

During this part of the film, he unravels a web of corrupt and deceiving individuals.

He sets off on a killing spree, going one-by-one to each who took part in the kidnapping.

Using torture tactics, he gets each person involved to give up information that leads him closer to the leader, also known as “The Voice.”

The shock comes when he traces the whole thing back to Pita’s father. He uncovers the kidnap was staged to cover the debt his father left him, by using the life insurance money that insures Pita.

Creasy later finds himself negotiating his life for that of Pita’s; she is alive.

It is an emotional ending when he sacrifices himself to save her. Viewers will see Creasy and Pita acknowledging how much they love each other before parting.

What makes this film so gripping, aside from the performances, is the reality of the fact that kidnapping is notorious in countries like Mexico. Also, people should not have to live in fear of becoming a victimor being another statistic.

“Man on Fire” is a great depiction of a controversial truth that is occurring around the world, and if nothing else, will open your eyes to this.