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|Index||301 reviews in total|
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.
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'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.
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.
Oh my God. The movie was everything bad I expected. To begin with there
is this over-dramatic music through out the entire movie. Even when
Harrison Ford is just walking down a hallway. This genre has been
hacked and hacked to death. Technological thrillers are nothing new and
"Firewall" offers nothing new. This is "Swordfish" meets "Ransom". It
is a pathetic movie. Harrison Ford is starting to look like a man in
his sixties. In the movie he is married to a woman who looks to be in
her early thirties. The woman looks half his age.
I remember when I was in the 10th grade and I first learned about fore-shadowing. Now we call it a "plot device". This movie is full of plot devices (remote-control car). So to predict the ending... one simply has to watch the first 1/3 of the movie. There is nothing clever or interesting about the end. Get this... cop cars even pull up in the last seconds. I bet you haven't seen a movie where a police arrive just at the end?
So I guess Harrison Ford is done. We are all just waiting for "Indiana Jones IV".
Having seen the trailer for this movie some time ago, my wife was
rather keen to watch it, so when it appeared on the shelves of
Blockbuster we parted with a few quid to rent it- huge mistake.
This movie is just woeful on so many levels, not least its insipid plot and dire screenplay which limp aimlessly to a thankful finish. Just about every Hollywood cliché has been thrown into this pathetic attempt at a thriller. The characters are barely given any kind of depth or background, making it hard to care what happens to them one way or the other. One might have expected a lot more from Paul Bettany, his role as the bad guy is wholly unconvincing, a far cry from his performance in Knight's Tale as 'Jeff'. In fairness, the poor script gave Bettany little to sink his teeth into; it's hard to imagine why he was ever cast for this part.
The villainous nature of his character is seen for the briefest of moments when he shoots his own henchman (killing him instantly from a single bullet to the shoulder amazingly enough), and encouraging young Andy into eating a cookie while knowing of his peanut allergy which causes the young kid to have a near fatal reaction. Partway through the film, due to Ford's non compliance, he instructs one of his gang to injure the boy's knee, then seconds later, amid pleas from Ford, basically says 'no, don't...', about as intimidating as a blade of grass.
Throughout the film I was optimistic for some unexpected twist to liven up proceedings, maybe his wife was in on it or perhaps the whole family would die from a peanut allergy and convulse in one unified theatrical display. It simply lacked originality from start to finish, not even the paltry action sequences had the capacity to arouse any audience anticipation or excitement.
Couple this with the numerous and glaring continuity gaffs throughout the movie and you have a thoroughly disappointing film. Do yourself a favour and don't see it.
I like Harrison Ford. He was fun to watch as Indiana Jones and Han
Solo. Even his Jack Ryan films were, for the most part, watchable.
(They were certainly easier to sit through than that piece of nonsense
starring Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan, that's for sure.) But as Ford ages,
he really should work on playing more character roles. He's played Jack
Stanfield-like roles so many times that there is nothing more or new he
can bring to his performances.
He's also not the most diversely-ranged actor. He pretty much runs the gamut of emotions from highly enraged to enraged when he plays these roles, be they in "Frantic" (1998), "Patriot Games" (1992) or "Air Force One" (1997), all of which I enjoyed far more than "Firewall." Once again, Ford plays someone who has to rescue his family from danger and get the bad guys at the same time. Even ignoring the one gigantic plot hole in this film - Bill Cox (Paul Bettany) meticulously plans his dastardly deed after seemingly months of research, but then is ignorant of one incredibly crucial point - the film sputters along without much energy.
There certainly are very few thrills in this thriller. And for a thriller that is meant to be taut, this one's awfully loose and riddled with coincidences, no more so than in the climax. The manner in which Stanfield finds the bad guys is truly laughable.
Virginia Madsen got a well-deserved boost from "Sideways" (2004). And if her filmography is any indication, it seems she has attached herself to some interesting films. However, as brilliant as she was in "Sideways," she thoroughly wasted in "Firewall," serving merely as a decoration for Ford. Substitute Anne Archer from the Jack Ryan films or Wendy Crewson from "Air Force One" and you'll know what I mean.
The infuriating thing about watching "Firewall" is knowing that, considering the cast, its above-the-line costs alone were in the millions of dollars. Throw production and publicity costs in and you're talking a good fortune.
Now, just imagine how many wonderful $3-million-to-$5-million, or less, pictures could have been made instead of this rubbish.
It's remarkable that there is no end to the machinations that the old
plot-driving chestnut; the kidnapped wife and/or kid(s) can put into
play. Way too many filmmakers have milked this plot line (Ron Howard,
Mel Gibson, Schwartzenggar) to exhaustion, since it's fresh debut in
DeathWish (way back in the 1700s) and it's become the action-adventure
genre's tiresome, defacto plot line: and judging from the success of
these look-alike products, apparently it's the only volition straight
audiences can fathom. I wish Hitchcock knew what would follow when he
dreamt up this ruse for The Man who knew too Much (1934).
Now in this movie entitled "Harrison Ford Cashes a Paycheck" the actor who has played constipated tight-asses for 20 years throws another one on the fire. It seems that his only requirement for accepting a script is that his character is trying to find his family and wears a suit. Ford has a loooooooooooong, boring resume of playing dull bourgeois men who are attempting to locate their misplaced wives, or prove they didn't kill someone; Presumed Innocent, Frantic, The Fugitive, this. Occasionally when he's stretching artistically a script lets him do both! The result is he has no range and no variety. To spice things up, he's interspersed three or four Republican national defense thrillers. His emotional range is limited to 'angry' and 'slightly more angry.' Yes, we get it already Harrison, you're embarrassed over being an actor after being a construction worker.
It is now time for the makers of "Scary Movie" to make "Harrison Ford Movie" in which for two thrilling hours Ford can't find his family because they're standing directly behind him. It really should include a shot of Harrison Ford taking a dump... while wearing a suit.
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.
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