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|Index||298 reviews in total|
The movie was better than I thought it would be. I really enjoyed it. Seeing Harrison Ford back in action was an added bonus. He can definitely still bring it. It was great to see him back on the big screen as feisty as ever still kicking butt. The villain was played by Paul Bettany who is always brilliant when playing a dirty rotten scoundrel. I didn't realize how tall he (Paul) is until this movie, (he is a good inch taller than Harrison Ford, who is over 6 ft) The film was a bit slow in parts, but the ending makes up for it. I wouldn't suggest taking small children as it is a bit violent for its PG-13 rating. There are also a couple funny / cute moments that were really well played. If you are a Harrison Ford fan, you won't want to miss Firewall.
I saw that 'Firewall' was coming on TV a couple of nights ago and
wanted to catch Harrison Ford in action, as I'm a huge fan of his and I
had not seen this. I have to say I was fairly entertained by the film.
The plot is not so much different from the other films of this genre,
but what stands apart from the rest is Harrison Ford's and the
antagonist, Bill Cox's very real performances and some clever twists.
Computer security specialist Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford) works for the Seattle-based Landrock Pacific Bank. A trusted top-ranking executive, he has built his career and reputation on designing the most effective anti-theft computer systems in the industry, protecting the bank's financial holdings from the constant threat of increasingly sophisticated internet hackers with his complex network of tracers, access codes and firewalls. His regular life is put into turmoil after his family taken is taken hostage by Bill Cox and his cronies.
Even though most of the story was predictable, that doesn't mean it wasn't entertaining. It has everything you can ask - big explosions, smart thinking actors, great acting (only by Harrison Ford and Paul Bettany). Cox played by Paul Bettany was very unnerving as the calm, cold, collected and clever villain. He was ruthless in killing his own men to make his point. I mean that is fairly common in this genre, still it was pretty good. Jack's repeated attempts to try and save his family along with the money was good to see. You could look at his eyes and you can see how much he loves his family and how scared he is for them and really wants their safety more than anything. The little kid, Andy with the allergy and Jack's secretary, Janet Stone played by Mary Lynn Rajkub are also very good. The climax with the burning car was not so believable. But even so, this is a more than average thriller that you would want to see. A rating of 5.6 on IMDb? I am shocked. Come on people, this is so much better than that. I really enjoyed the movie immensely.
Jack Stanfield may be an old man but he has a young wife, couple of
young kids AND is pretty hot on the old computers, working as he does
as head of systems security for a small bank chain that has recently
merged with a larger firm. His comfortable life is thrown into disarray
when a group of armed men led by the distinguished and cruel Bill Cox
seize his house and his family. The deal is simple unless he helps
them transfer millions of pounds from many of the banks accounts by
accessing the system, they will kill his family one at a time. Given
that none of the men are masked, Jack suspects that this will happen
anyway and, while going along with them, frantically tries to work out
a way to safety.
This film did reasonable but unspectacular business at the box office and perhaps that is only fair given that is also a very adequate on the film itself as it is solid but nothing special at all. The plot is a bit of the problem as the computer world and the house both act as constraining factors that do not allow for a great number of set pieces to get the heart racing. Nor does it provide much in the way of mystery although it is clever enough to provide distraction and a general sense of peril. Much of this comes from the performances though, which despite not being brilliant are at least functional for this film. I didn't need a fourth Indiana Jones film to tell me Ford was getting old, because he demonstrates it here with an absurd fight scene at the end. Up till then though he is not actually too bad and age doesn't prevent him from doing anything in particular. Bettany is pretty good alongside him and plays a bit of a cookie-cutter character with a bit of class. Madsen is lumbered with the "wife in peril" role but fills it well (better than the two kids anyway). The support cast features very minor turns from faces such as Forster, Patrick, Arkin, Rajskub and a few others of note not sure what attracted them but they add a bit of class to the film anyway.
Ultimately director Loncraine cannot make the most of all these bits and, while doing a good job, he doesn't really ever get the tension ratcheted up to the level of any of the many better "normal guy in peril" type roles that Ford has done over the last few decades. It is "OK" but I was a bit disappointed that he didn't manage to make the house feel "smaller" with the gang in it, or that he never really got anything crackling between Bettany and Ford. It is a reasonable film nonetheless and it distracted me but only that it will certainly fade in my memory quickly and certainly doesn't do anything for Ford other than keeping him busy.
This is like "24", it's all phony, but exciting enough so you don't care. You know what Ford is going to do. Having Chloe as his admin assistant even added to the ambiance. The cinematography was very good, and the acting was all standard. It's just, as usual, the bad guy has to have a few idiots working for him to make the story go easier. The dog bit was too much of a ploy to keep the plot moving, totally out of sync with what characters would have done. Bottom line is poor quality of enemies for Ford to deal with, so even though events proceeded apace, they required too much suspension of disbelief for my money. I wouldn't have gone myself, it was just my wife wanted to see it. There was never truly enough of a sense of danger. They should have hurt one of the family more. Even the son's allergy reaction wasn't scary enough. And people would have figured out things at the bank a lot sooner.
I'm very upset about the shoddy quality of this movie. It is, without a doubt, the worst that Harrison Ford has ever starred in. Every thing about it is lame, especially the premise itself. This plot (or similar) has been done so many times before that is't tiresome and boring in and of itself. There are two types of movies that I swear from this day forth I will never waste my time watching again. One is the plot where a high school or college basketball coach is enlisted to rejuvenate a losing team, and the other is one in which a CEO or other high level person has their family kidnapped for some kind of favor. We've seen all of these we need. Every subtlety and twist and trick been used, and used again, and overused, so the only possible result for a movie of this theme, if it IS released, is to be boring, predictable, and mundane, which "Firewall" achieves in spades. Please don't waste either your time of money on this disaster.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There were many plot holes in this film, and so much of the character
behavior made no sense. For instance, see if you can make better
decisions in the following circumstances than the film's characters
1. If a pyschopath has your family hostage, and he forces you to fire your loyal secretary or he'll hurt one of your kids, do you say to the secretary:
(a) "I'll explain later, I have no choice, but for now you're fired"; or (b) "I'm sorry, but the company is cutting back and they're making me fire you"; or (c) "GET YOUR SH#T AND GET OUT OF HERE!"
2. Later, when you try to reconcile with said secretary to enlist her help in rescuing your family, do you:
(a) Say, "That guy in the office before was a psycho who forced me to fire you"; or (b)"Trust me, I fired you before because I had no choice, I need your help"; or (c) Burst into her apartnment and wrestle her to the ground with your hand cupped over her mouth.
3. While your family is held hostage, they send you to work with a small pen camera in your shirt pocket, so that they will be able to listen in on any conversations you have. But you want to secretly alert someone, anyone, in your office about your dilemma. Do you: (a)Scribble a note on a piece of paper (out of camera view) that says, "Help, my family is being held hostage and I'm wired, call the police" and pass it to a co-worker and walk away; (b) Pin the camera pen to your chair, facing your computer screen, so that the bad guys think you are just sitting there -- go tell a co-worker what is happening; or (c)Try to type a "HELP" email with one hand, off-camera, on a compter that the bad guys have probably hacked and are monitoring.
4. You and a group of thugs have invaded a home and taken a family hostage. The phone rings. You and your co-horts watch the family's young son approach the phone to answer it. Do you: (a) Say, "Hey, kid, don't answer that phone."; or (b) Walk over to the phone and block the kid from answering it; or (c) Look at each other dimly, LET THE KID ANSWER THE PHONE without telling him not to, and then pounce on the kid and point a gun to his head, whispering that he had better hang up.
The characters in Firewall answerd "C" to all four questions, so if you answered differently, you probably could have written a better movie.
I am a big fan of Harrison Ford. But watch Witness, Mosquito Coast,
Presumed Innocent, or Air Force One, before this one.
The DVD Special Features are worth watching, and thankfully short: Firewal Decoded, and, Firewall: Writing a Thriller. There is no commentary by director or writer or producer or set designer or whoever, but, you probably won't want to see it if you sit through all the film.
If you cut out the middle hour it should be more watcheable.
Specific problems for me:
That annoying dog. Would an annoying ugly yapping dog make it through the first evening, much less several days?
And how is it that the darling little boy is subjected to mistreatment through the film, but the wife and daughter character have status that prevents them from comparable threat? Does anyone find it believable that the wife and teenage daughter would sit around day after day in the house, captive with 4 or 5 men, and it would be the little boy who is the victim of mistreatment--"take him downstairs and break his knee," &c. Feed him allergenic foods so he almost dies, and so forth.
I took my daughter to karate twice a week for 5 years. I taught her to shoot rifle, shotgun, revolver, and auto pistol. If she were in this situation, I am sure she could do more than whine, ask her mom what is going on, stuff Trix in her mouth, and act helpless.
Next, those dopey gun-to-the-head scenes. OK I have never had a gun to my head and hope I don't in the near term, but how is it than when a movie character has a gun to their head they just fall apart and do whatever is asked? Might one not think-- So if he shoots me, then he can't get what he wants-- so where is the threat in the gun to my head ... Am I the only one to think of this?
Firewall is a movie so recycled that it doesn't even deviate into any
individual territory as its own beast at any time. It's entertaining in
the plainest and most detached possible way you can be by a movie.
Harrison Ford must protect his family from the bad guys and outsmart
them and vindicate himself at the same time. Watching it, I realized
what movies have generally become. They aren't about expression or
perspective anymore. They're about basic entertainment that requires
the least amount of thinking possible. If you stop and look, a good
three quarters of the movies that require any cerebral provocation or
an individualistic story that branches into territory alien to most
American audiences are given limited release, and we can hardly ever
know ahead of time when they're coming to a theater near us. Firewall
is one of these watered-down assembly line entertainments.
Paul Bettany plays a very effective villain. We hate him, we know how sophisticated he is, and we know how brilliant he is, but then we see his henchmen. They are generally stupid, they are overtly mean to the point where they almost compromise the cooperation of Harrison Ford and his family, and they are not nearly as elusive or sneaky as Bettany. What they are can pretty basically be described as stoner dudes who fancy themselves to be computer whizzes. Bettany, being the brilliant mastermind he is, knows not to be so mean and bullying towards the family because he's smart enough to know how to better control them, and he can forge a different personality within a split second when some strange employee or friend comes into the room, making him have to play it off like there's nothing wrong. Why would such a smart villain hire a crew of dunces so far below his intelligence and sophistication? Because the studio wanted Firewall to appeal to the teenage audience? This isn't the first movie to have a group of villains like this, which is exactly my point. Firewall is so cliché that doesn't even bother to take the much-needed liberty of improving upon or at least dressing up the less intelligent clichés, like this one.
Another thing that stood out in Firewall that aggravated me was the negligence of the dog. Not just by the characters in the movie but also the filmmakers. How many dogs are so nonchalant during an attack on their family's home? Even the ones who are are at least reactive of what's going on, or at least scared for the well-being of its masters. The filmmakers here don't seem to think so. Until the convenient plot device comes along wherein the dog is needed for a surprise in the plot very very late in the movie, the dog is only scenery. He may as well be the wall or the duct tape over the family's mouths. He can't even bark or be put outside by the bad guys for being so hostile towards them? And can't the family give the dog a second look? Aren't they worried about him, until that surprise device comes in of course?
Ford is enjoyable in that gravely-monotone, only-move-fast-when-you-absolutely- positively-need-to way that he tends to be in Air Force One. Oh, I mean The Devil's Own. Er, no, Clear and Present Danger. Or wait, Patriot Games? No, Frantic. Oh yeah, that's right, Firewall. Virginia Madsen is wooden as well, but in a different way than Ford. She's wooden in that she's so unassured of herself in her role. Every line she speaks is so visibly a line. If she were in a movie wherein she were playing an actress and we suddenly cut to a scene where she's filming a movie, one of her scenes in this would be what we see, only because her performance here is so unreminiscent of reality at all. It would've been a nice surprise to see Alan Arkin, a great actor who's always refreshing to see, but---and I know I'm getting really picky now, but I can't help it---unfortunately I was always repelled at the bow-tie that his character must wear, as if it's the replacement for the sandwich board he was going to wear saying, "I'm the old guy." The film is so badly directed, hardly anything about the film works at all.
Firewall, like I said, is entertaining in the most basic way possible. If you're like my mom and you enjoy flipping through channels waiting to be surprised by the sight of one of your favorite actors or actresses and settling on that channel for whatever movie they happen to be in, you will enjoy this movie. If you actually take the time to rent it, you will be left with a generally unsatisfied appetite.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Pretty much the only reason I watched this was for Mary Lynn Rajskub
(so entertaining as the grouchy Chloe in '24'), and here she played...
well, Chloe from '24', only not quite as rude.
Apart from that, Firewall has really nothing to commend it. The villains' plot has so many potential points of failure that they would have been more likely to succeed by pulling stocking masks over their faces, donning black-and-white hooped jumpers and running into the bank carrying a sack marked 'SWAG'. And the villains themselves are a weak and stupid bunch - Bettany's character has Ford's family at his mercy, and to teach him a lesson for going against his wishes he kills... one of his OWN men!?! Hans Gruber he is not.
Great character actors like Robert Patrick and Robert Forster are wasted in one-note background roles, and there is literally nothing here which hasn't been done before - and better - in other thrillers. Actually, I take that back - I don't think any other film has ever been quite so stupid as to have the entire climax rest on a yipping dog wearing a GPS collar which can be tracked on the move using the world's largest and most reliable wi-fi hotspot!
"I'm going to find my dog" is not a catchphrase on a par with "Snakes... Why did it have to be snakes?" or "Get off my plane!" Sorry, Harrison, your days as an action hero are over.
Lousy script packed in high quality and expensive Hollywood production
results in this thriller only good to spend a rainy evening with a good
stock of trashy snacks.
What seems to be at the beginning a high-tech commando of hardcore professional criminals able to set up a bank information security chief, rapidly and with no sense at all, deteriorate in a pack of amateur weak jerks.
The rest is a set of incongruences of this sort. Easy situations are hard to resolve when the impossible ones are resolved in a snap. That's how the sophisticated criminals turn dumb, and the dumb character portrayed by Ford (Jack Stanfield) becomes an action hero. Even though Ford manages to keep Jack looking dumb, since it seems that for the old Harrison this is the only mood he can pull out.
The only performance to mention is that of Mary Lynn Rajskub portraying Janet Stone, Jack's secretary. She actually reenacts her character in the TV series 24 (Cloe) and even her boss has the same name as it does in the series. But whatever, at least she reminds you of better things to watch.
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