A Forgotten Denzel Washington Thriller Is Blowing Up On Netflix

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In a very similar vein to contemporaries Liam Neeson and Jason Statham, the Denzel Washington action thriller has become a subgenre unto itself. He might be one of the greatest actors of all-time with a slew of awards under his belt, but he also leads a double life as a box office attraction that audiences love to see dispensing justice to bad guys.

It’s a sideline that’s served Washington incredibly well over the years, and he struck up a winning shorthand with the late Tony Scott, who was no stranger himself to the world of highly stylized pyrotechnics. The duo collaborated on Crimson Tide, Déjà Vu, The Taking of Pelham 123, Unstoppable and Man on Fire, with the latter finding a new lease of life on Netflix, where it currently ranks as the fifth most popular title on the platform around the world according to FlixPatrol.

man on fire

By Denzel’s lofty standards, the R-rated revenge thriller wasn’t a massive success, earning a shade over $130 million at the box office on a $70 million budget, with Rotten Tomatoes only deeming it worthy of a meager 38%. However, the incredibly violent back half of the movie has long since seen it become a firm favorite among Washington aficionados.

The star’s John Creasy is a former CIA operative working as a bodyguard in Mexico, but the girl he was tasked to protect finds herself kidnapped, forcing him to take matters into his own hands. You can probably guess how things play out from there, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a whole lot of fun watching the leading man get his hands incredibly dirty.