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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
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(2004), R
Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
Aprl 23, 2004
24 out of 100

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If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

(2004), R -- ... one of my favorite actors in not one of my favorite films.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Fox 2000 Pictures, New Regency Pictures, Regency Enterprises
Distribution (US): 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
Director(s): Tony Scott
Producer(s): Lucas Foster, Conrad Hool, Lance Hool, Arnon Milchan, Tony Scott, James W. Skotchdopole, Peter Toumasis, Novel: A.J. Quinnell
Screenplay: Brian Helgeland
Cinematography/Camera: Paul Cameron
Music: Justin Caine Burnett, Toby Chu, Harry Gregson-Williams
Film Editing: Christian Wagner
Casting: Lucinda Syson, Manuel Teil, Bonnie Timmermann
Production Design: Benjamín Fernández, Chris Seagers
Art Direction: Hector C. Romero:
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

Brutal, sadistic violence. That is the single term that best describes the content of Man in Fire. Ex-assassin John Creasy (Denzel Washington) is on a Mexican road of vengeance with cold and ruthless focus and resolve. Or so the filmmakers want you to think about the character. Denzel Washington is one of my favorite actors in not one of my favorite films. If there is a recent parallel to this film, it was The Punisher. Both star a shot-up crusader recuperating then wreaking tons of revenge on the perpetrators of a heinous crime.

By the suggestion of Creasy's pal Rayburne (Christopher Walken), Creasy seeks employment as a bodyguard in Mexico where the kidnapping rate is 24 per day. Samuel (Marc Anthony) and Lisa (Radha Mitchell) Ramos hired Creasy, under financial stress, to protect their daughter from the brotherhood, La Hermandad, led by Daniel Sanchez, a.k.a The Voice (Gustavo Sánchez Parra). La Hermandad was known for kidnapping family members to extort money from wealthy business men.

A young girl, Lupita Martin Ramos (Dakota Fanning) was abducted while under Creasy's protection. If there is one to be given any acting awards in this film, it should be Fanning. She was g-o-o-d. Not since Shirley Temple have I heard a girl her age who can use her talents to express from raw terror to warm tenderness and sincerity PLUS matter-of-fact sobriety as well as Dakota. She meets the demands of the role most excellently. For about the first half of the 138-minute show, Creasy builds a relationship with Pita. It is the relationship that gives Creasy meaning to his life which had previously been lost in a bottle and a gun.

Along with getting a bargain in body guard fees with Creasy, the Ramos' got his drinking problems, too. Amidst the daze of fighting his drinking problem, Creasy vows to find - and kill - those responsible for abducting Pita. Creasy admits what he is going to do: "What I do best. I am going to kill them." Rayburne describes Creasy as an artist with a lethal paintbrush and that he is about to paint his masterpiece. Rayburne also stated that Creasy can do more for cleaning up Mexico in 10 minute than the law can do in ten years.

Creasy becomes as close to an outlaw as close can be without being there. He is labeled a cop-killer since Creasy killed two uniform cops in the gun battle surrounding Pita's abduction. Not yet charged with any crime and with the aid of a journalist Mariana (Rachel Ticotin) Creasy launches his vendetta with access to otherwise impossible information and resources. And, as usual, the police are corrupt ... except for Manzano (Giancarlo Giannini) who may be the only honest plain-clothes cop on the force.

If anyone has seen the trailers for this film, remember the scene where Creasy (Washington) walks away from a car exploding under an overpass behind him? Well, that was from an explosive device Creasy placed in the rectum of one of the bad guys. That is just a sample of the caliber of brutality and sadism in this film. And this is immediately following the likewise sadism in The Punisher. Shades Ps 12:8! Now we compete for the most vile to sell the most. Oh, how we toy with 2 Tim. 3:1 - 5.

Carnage is rampant, thus the zero score in Wanton Violence/Crime [Prov. 3:31-32]. The use of the most foul of the foul words triples the uses of the others of the three/four letter word vocabulary, the reason for a zero score in also Impudence/Hate [Col. 3:8]. Drinking alcoholic beverages and smoking plus consumption of illegal drugs drained the starting 100 points of the Drugs/Alcohol investigation area [Eph. 5:18]. Oddly enough, the Murder/Suicide score was not zero in spite of the at least eleven murders [Rev. 21:8].

Yeah, maybe this movie is rated R but that does not stop the underage attendance. More than half of all moviegoers are non-adult (Loews movie trivia) and more than half of all non-cartoon, feature length movies generally available to the public are rated R (). You do the math.

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If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • 2 Tim. 3:1 - 5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce [brutal, sadistic], despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof [Sunday-only and counterfeit Christians]: from such turn away.
  • Prov. 3:31-32 Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways, for the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence.
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ["Wine" can be any intoxicating substance. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk. A recent study has found an undeniable link between the presentation of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in and as entertainment and abuse of them by adolescents. And teaching/causing youth to abuse alcohol/tobacco by emboldening youth with them in and as entertainment invokes Luke 17:2]
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • Hab. 2:9 Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin!

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent, situationally redefine, counterfeit, conditionally apply] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    Man on Fire (2004) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • several rapid kidnappings
  • cutting off body parts
  • gore
  • gun to head for suicide
  • gun battle
  • child abduction
  • multiple gun deaths
  • threat to kill, repeatedly
  • gunfire to kill, repeatedly
  • second child abduction and imprisonment
  • illegal arms purchase
  • firearm threat to head/face, repeatedly
  • finger amputation to intimidate
  • torture interrogation
  • gunfire to injure, repeatedly
  • flashes of abduction
  • arson
  • blood gore
  • planning multiple murders
  • dead body, repeatedly
  • assist in suicide
  • gunfire injury to torture, repeatedly
  • traffic collision
  • order to kill, repeatedly
  • torture victim

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • seven uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • nineteen uses of the most foul of the foul words
  • apathy toward victim
  • lies, repeatedly
  • teaching young girl to defy her father
  • riotous revelry
  • father arranging kidnapping of his daughter to recover finances [Hab. 2:9]

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • prostitutes
  • skimpy swim wear, repeatedly
  • sexual innuendo
  • stripping to underwear
  • making out in underwear
  • inappropriate touch, repeatedly
  • suggestive eye movement
  • request for sex
  • adult in underwear, repeatedly
  • implied intercourse
  • extortion for sex

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • illegal drug consumption

    Offense to God (O)
  • two uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive
  • "Forgiveness is between them and God. My job is to arrange the meeting"
  • lust for revenge, repeatedly

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • murders by gunfire, repeatedly
  • murders by gunfire/grenade, repeatedly
  • murders by explosive inserted into the rectum
  • murders by ambush
  • suicide by gunfire (heard by unseen)

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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