PictureAs I mentioned above, the movie is an eclectic mix of cinematography styles, with many scenes taking place in subdued or plain dark settings. Thankfully the transfer is up to it. Averaging 5mbps and peaking at around 9mbps there's not much evidence of blocking or mosquito noise present, even during action scenes, although there is a little too much use of edge enhancement which does rear its ugly head at some points in the movie. The print itself does look a little grainy (but, again, this is most likely to be a deliberate trait of the cinematographer rather than a fault) but has no apparent colour problems or evidence of print damage. Not quite reference and you'd better have a system that can cope with dark scenes without crushing detail, but very good nonetheless.
SoundExcellent. Available with your choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448kbps) or DTS 5.1 (as well as French and Spanish Dolby Surround tracks) neither will disappoint. The mix is dynamic and very well layered with a great number of subtle effects woven in to the rear channels. When Creasy is investigating the town square (after dropping off Lupita at school), he investigates a CD stall whilst the ambient effects of the square surround the listener. Music is also used to good effect and it's doubtful you'll even have heard a Spanish version of Toni Basils' “Mickey” in another action movie, much less whilst a finger lopping interrogation was taking place! At the other extreme, moments such as Creasy torching the nightclub will certainly give your sub a kick and there are plenty of weapon inspired moments to test out your system. Comparing the Dolby Digital track against the DTS I would be hard pressed to pick a clear winner. If I had to choose one over the other I'd have to say that the DTS track sounds slightly more spacious and well separated, but the 5.1 Dolby digital track is no slouch either, so it will probably come down to personal choice.
ExtrasExtras start with a series of enforced trailers which pop up when you insert the disc. Continuing what seems to be the current vogue, trailers for “The Day After Tomorrow”, “I, Robot” and “Alien Vs. Predator” are mixed together for this introduction that cannot be skipped, although it can be fast wound through. Moving on to more welcome extras, “Inside Look” features a peek at two upcoming movies from Fox. The first, introduced by director John Polson, is “Hide and Seek” featuring Robert De Niro, Famke Janssen and (linking to this movie) Dakota Fanning. Unfortunately, despite the director introduction this is nothing more than a teaser trailer. Next up is an on set look at “TAXI” featuring Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah. Here we get a quick look around on set as well as a trailer for the movie itself. Unfortunately, apart from the commentary(s) (yes there is more than one available) that's it for the extras here, and it's a definite shame that Fox has found enough space for all the “upcoming” movie trailers but couldn't cram on one trailer for the feature presentation!So, what of the commentaries? First up we have a director's commentary with Tony Scott. Whilst a little dry and slow in places, this track is definitely worth a listen. Avoiding the pitfall of merely describing the on screen action, Scott tells how he acquired the rights to the original book, recruited Denzel Washington and went about putting together the rest of the cast. He further comments on the true story of kidnapping in Mexico, which is scary in of itself. The second commentary is definitely more of a group effort. Featuring producer Lucas Foster, screenwriter Brian Helgeland and actress Dakota Fanning, we have more of an ensemble piece, which features many behind the scenes stories and comments on the making of the movie. None of the group dominates and Dakota Fanning shows that even at age 9 she had her own input on this project. Together these are a good couple of commentary tracks although this is just as well since that's your lot as far as extras are concerned.
VerdictA keeper, very violent in parts but it resists the urges to become an all out, unthinking, “revenge” movie or to tack on a Hollywood happy ending. An excellent thriller that will keep you engrossed even through its long running time, “Man on Fire” is, itself, a good slice of revenge best served on DVD.
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