Tony Scott can make good films and bad, personally I think he can be a bit flashy and trashy and his work obviously suffers in comparison with that of his rather famous brother, but this is quite possibly his best film.
What makes this film so great is that Scott gives Denzel (on scorching form, better than Training Day) and the revelation who is Dakota Fanning time to develop a relationship of real warmth and tenderness. The set up is absolutely NOT boring, although it takes time - it is involving, and takes us on a little journey into the characters - including a superb role for Radha Mitchell as the mother. This all serves to make the action so much more effective, as we are so invested in the characters, for all their all too obvious weaknesses. This film has you on the edge for its entirety, and doesn't cop out at the end either.
The film would of course be nothing without Washington. I often wonder why he seems to get so many duff roles, when he quite clearly is as good as almost any leading man out there (I can only really think of one, Daniel Day Lewis, who has more on-screen power these days). This film should have been huge, given his status and the strength of his performance, and the quality of the film. It just goes to show you that if a studio doesn't back a film to the hilt, it ends up going straight to video. I wish I'd got the chance to see this on the big screen.