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DVD Review: MAN ON FIRE Collector's Edition

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PHOTOGRAPHY

MAN ON FIRE All Access Collector's Edition

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 146 minutes,, two audio commentaries, Vengeance Is Mine: Reinventing Man On Fire documentary, 14 deleed scenes and alternate ending with optional commentary, Multi-Angle Scene Study: Pita's Abduction with optional director commentary, Still Photto Gallery, Music video, theatrical trailers and TV spots

STUDIO: FOX

RELEASE DATE: 5-24-2005

ANALYSIS: Twenty years ago, Tony Scott was originally slated to direct MAN ON FIRE in Italy. It was going to be his second movie, but the producers felt he wasn't right. The first adaptation of (the novel) MAN ON FIRE starred Scott Glenn as Creasy and it took place in Italy. The Scott Glenn version is a brutal noir as Creasy is out to save a 12 year old girl, Sam (Jade Malle), from the terrorists who kidnapped her. Sam and Creasy become friends in this version. Sam even has a more active role than the later version of MAN ON FIRE.

Flash forward to 2004 and Tony Scott had directed a remake of MAN ON FIRE starring Denzel Washington as Creasy assigned to protect a 9 year old girl, Pita (Dakota Fanning),in Mexico City where a person is kidnapped every sixty minutes in Latin America. Sam grows to see Creasy as a father figure where her parents are absent from her life at most times. When she is kidnapped and Creasy is injured, he goes on quest of vengeance when she is presumed to be dead (after something goes wrong at the ransom drop off). Tony Scott's MAN ON FIRE is different from the earlier version. It is a stylish character driven drama with spurts of furious action.

Comparing the two adaptations, I like the earlier adaptation better. Both versions are great, but the brutality of the earlier film pushes it ahead of Tony Scott's MTV friendly version. Both adaptations are a force to be reckoned with as they show how much a man will go to get the kidnappers. However, it makes better drama when we know Sam is still alive and I like how they show scenes between Sam and the kidnappers in addition to the video they make of her to show she is still alive. You don't see that in the Tony Scott version. There is just the voice. I hope the earlier adaptation makes it to DVD soon because it deserves to be seen as much as the new MAN ON FIRE.

VIDEO/AUDIO: MAN ON FIRE is presented in 2.40 Anamorphic Widescreen. Colors and blacks are good. Image detail isn't bad.

You can hear the movie in English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, or English 5.1 DTS with the option of English or Spanish subtitles. No subtitle or close caption options for any of the special features. Dialogue sparkles and is clear. Sound and music add to the ambience that director Tony Scott is trying to put forward.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Disc ONE- Two audio commentaries for the movie which were on the single disc release: one by Director Tony Scott and the other one with Co-Star Dakota Fanning, Producer Lucas Foster, and Screenwriter Brian Helgeland. Both of them are easy to listen to and provide insights (and stories) on the production of MAN ON FIRE. Dakota Fanning sounds like a very smart little girl.

Disc TWO- VENGEANCE IS MINE: REINVENTING MAN ON FIRE documentary (about 72 minutes) is one of the best movie documentaries I have ever seen. I give credit to producer Charles de Laurizika for relying more on behind-the-scenes footage intercut with interviews and less on actual clips from the movie. They talk about setting the movie in Mexico City, the problems of filming on location in that city, and the multiple cameras Tony Scott uses for each scene.

Also included are 14 deleted scenes and an alternate ending (about 32 minutes in total) with optional commentary by Director Tony Scott. The alternate ending is actually better than the theatrical ending and the deleted scenes include a sexual subplot and redundant scenes.

Next is a Multi-Angle Scene Study of PITA'S ABDUCTION from script excerpt to director's storyboards to the footage of four cameras used to film the scene with optional commentary by director Tony Scott. This section is very extensive and will appeal to film buffs/film students.

Rounding out the extras are a very candid Still Photo Gallery of the production, a music video from Kinky for "Oye Como Va", and multiple trailers and TV spots for MAN ON FIRE in addition to previews for other FOX releases.

FINAL ANALYSIS: The new extras on disc two make it worth an upgrade (or a great buy for those who waited for the two disc edition) to the MAN ON FIRE All Access Collector's Edition.

this DVD Review is (c)5-16-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia