Man On Fire

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Keith Dudhnath

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Man On Fire
Man On Fire

Self-indulgent and distracting they may be, but Tony Scott's visual effects in Man On Fire look superb on DVD. The colours throughout the film are clear and crisp, and there are no artefacts or graining. The film couldn't have been presented any better.

The audio quality is equally outstanding. The surround sound mix is one of the best I've heard in a long time. There are appropriate ambient sounds in the rear speakers throughout, rather than just the odd gunshot whizzing past, which really immerses the viewer in the action. I don't have a DTS-capable set-up, but it would be a reasonable presumption that it's as good, if not better, than the regular surround sound mix.

Copy picture

Subtitling is available on the feature and all the extras, including the commentary.

Tony Scott's commentaries, on the feature itself, the deleted scenes and the multi-angle scene on the second disc are consistently informative. I could have done without hearing quite so many times that Christopher Walken can read a phone book and make it sound interesting, however.

There is half an hour of deleted scenes. It should be noted that some scenes haven't been fully mixed for sound and have large silent patches. The majority are (rightly) rejected plot alternatives and as such are intriguing in terms of observing the filmmaking process. As for content, however, you're probably best off considering them a warning as to how many more cliches the film could have packed in. If, for some unknown reason, you liked the film, there's plenty to enjoy in them.

Man On Fire is available as a one-disc or two-disc set. The first disc contains the commentary and deleted scenes and the optional second disc contains a 70-minute documentary, multi-angle scene and the ignorable padding of extras with a storyboard, photo gallery, music video and trailers. The multi-angle scene promises much and delivers little, as multi-angle scenes always do. You soon get tired of flicking between angles and instead watch the composite of all four angles at once. This is a far more informative way to observe how the scene is put together and it's a method I hope is used for any multi-angle extras in the future.

Whether or not to buy the Man On Fire two disc DVD boils down to whether or not you want the 70-minute documentary. Its length means that you get much more than the usual featurette fare of "It was such a privilege to work with actor/director/tea lady." Whilst it's not a must-see documentary, it's as good as one could expect. The section about the weapons training is a particular highlight. If you like the film enough to buy it, then do consider spending the extra to get the two-disc set.

I appreciate the choice between a one-disc and a two-disc set, particularly when the first disc has the best extras on it anyway. I can't help but feel that if the first disc did away with all the trailers for other films (including one purporting to be an extra, an inside look at an upcoming film), the documentary would have fitted on the first disc. No one would mind doing without the photo gallery et al.

All that said, it's a superb DVD package. It's just a shame the film isn't anywhere near as good.

Reviewed on: 08 Feb 2005
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Man On Fire packshot
An assassin goes all out for vengeance after the family he is hired to protect are attacked.
Amazon link

Product Code: 26501CDVD

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.33:1

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround

Extras: Audio commentary from director Tony Scott, deleted scenes with optional director's commentary, Inside Look: Hide And Seek - featurette,Vengeance Is Mine: Reinventing Man On Fire documentary, Pita's Abduction - multi-angle sequence, 'Pita's Abduction' - multi-angle sequence, gallery, Oye Como Va music video from Kinky, TV spots, trailers

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