Sunday 9 May 2021

Movie Review: Firewall (2006)

A feeble hostage drama, Firewall abandons technothriller ambitions and settles for a bland recycling of tired ideas.

In Seattle, Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford) is in charge of network security at Landrock Pacific Bank. His colleagues include fellow security expert Harry Romano (Robert Forster), executive Gary Mitchell (Robert Patrick) and President Arlin Forester (Alan Arkin). With the bank in the middle of merger negotiations, tensions are high.

Master criminal Bill Cox (Paul Bettany) leads a group of armed men who invade Jack's house and hold his wife Beth (Virginia Madsen) and two children hostage. Cox wants Jack to digitally break into the bank's network and transfer $100 million into off-shore accounts. With the help of his assistant Janet (Mary Lynn Rajskub), Jack has to find a way to thwart the criminals and save his family.

A haphazard and immediately forgettable thriller, Firewall finds Harrison Ford trading on his old hits. The well-worn concept of a man forced into action while his family is held hostage is trudged out for yet another go-around. Other than a grand hilltop architectural marvel of a house that suggests Jack and Beth are well-paid indeed, writer Joe Forte and director Richard Loncraine cannot conjure up any new or interesting angles.

The initial intent to focus on the world of digital security is half-hearted and all but abandoned, with no firewall in sight. And after pairing Ford with a 19-years-younger Madsen, the script defaults to an inane climax subjecting the 64 year old to physical altercations that would challenge men half his age. Meanwhile, back at the bank Robert Forster, Alan Arkin and Robert Patrick represent a trio of utterly wasted veteran talent.

But maybe worst of all is the motiveless Fox as a crime boss who has thought of everything except the most important things, while his group of bumbling armed men have all the necessary weaponry and technological toys yet spend the movie watching television and getting outsmarted. Fox's main method of intimidating Jack is to kill his own men

With no one expressing any rational plans as the climax approaches, Firewall literally defaults to man chases dog. And only the dog maintains a semblance of dignity.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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