Man on Fire (Italian: Un uomo sotto tiro) is a 1987 French-Italian film based on the novel Man on Fire by A. J. Quinnell. It was directed by Élie Chouraqui and stars Scott Glenn and Jade Malle. Another film based on the same novel was filmed in 2004, and that film received a 2005 Bollywood remake. The opening portrays a man being declared dead in an Italian hospital by a police chief. The man is an ex-CIA agent, John Creasy. Eleanor Ringel of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that Creasy "introduces himself to us in a "Sunset Boulevard"-style opening." In Italy, wealthy families often hire bodyguards to protect family members from the threat of kidnapping. A wealthy family that needs a bodyguard hires Creasy, a burned-out ex-CIA agent, to protect their daughter, Samantha "Sam" Balletto. Creasy has been broken down from all of the death and horror of combat he witnessed in the Vietnam War and in Beirut, Lebanon. Although Creasy is not interested in being a bodyguard, especially to a twelve year old youngster, he accepts the assignment because he has no better job offers. Creasy barely tolerates the precocious child and her pestering questions about him and his life.
Fairly awful, this star-studded revenge flick gives us a freaked-out Scott Glenn getting vengeance on the kidnappers who got his charge, a young Italian girl. The film begins with Glenn getting zipped up into a body bag, so we know things aren’t going to go all that well. But don’t mess with him: He’s a man on fire! He’ll get his due before he meets his end (or did he -gasp! — fake his death?)… and you’ll get little more than a dull headache.