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|Index||298 reviews in total|
Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany, Alan Arkin, Robert Forster, and other
talented actors and actresses star in this fun, action-packed (if not
predictable) thriller about a security expert who is forced into
robbing his own bank.
Ford plays the security expert, and Bettany plays the main bad guy who kidnaps Ford's family and forces him to rob the bank. That's really the story in this thriller, but it's so much fun that you forget about its shortcomings and total predictability. A few of Bettany's henchmen seem to be a little on the "polite" side, which is also kind of strange. Arkin plays Ford's boss, and Forster is his co-worker/friend.
Story is set in Seattle, but filmed almost entirely in Canada. Virginia Madsen and Robert Patrick co-star.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Harrison Ford started out with a great career playing charismatic
characters such as Han Solo, Indiana Jones and Rick Deckard, but then
in the nineties his roles transposed into sluggish caricatures with
forgettable films like "Regarding Henry," "Patriot Games" and "Clear
and Present Danger," the re-make of 1941's "Sabrina," "The Devil's
Own," "Air Force One." "Six Days and Seven Nights," and the abysmal
"Hollywood Homicide" were Ford's attempts at humor (which he has
mediocre comic timing). "Firewall" is Ford's first film since the box
office flop "Hollywood Homicide" (which a younger actor should have
been cast for his role, by the way) and it ain't much better. All of
the actors do a decent job if one wants to compare them to
"Lifetime"-channel actors. The film-making is acceptable but nothing
special, and most of all this film is not at all original in terms of
its premise. There have been a slew of films beforehand about the
innocent, attractive, affluent family in which the father is always a
banking officer/executive that happen get taken hostage by some thugs
for in exchange for acquiring money through that same bank. 1990's
"Desperate Hours" comes to mind the more I reflect and write about this
Paul Bettany (who has a Stingesque quality about him) is one of the film's biggest assets and I have never seen him do a poor job in each film that he's been in since 2001's "A Beautiful Mind." Robert Patrick (who has not aged well since his breakthrough role as the T-1000 in "Terminator 2") plays Ford's nemesis at his job as a prestigious bank security director, and Mary Lynn Rasjakub from "24" reprises her role from that very same show onto the big screen, crossing over as his secretary. Harrison is married to attractive Virginia Madsen who looks about twenty years younger than him, and his children are old enough to be his grandchildren in real life. A handful of leading actors have this problem in which they cannot (or will not) play men their own age (Michael Douglas and Nick Nolte are a few dark horses that come to mind), and Ford is becoming one of them likewise. He should take a risk and play someone over-the-hill or maybe not in the limelight but a co-star, or maybe a "grandfather" for once. But perhaps he does not have the range and he still thinks that he is forty; he is usually the same character in every movie he's in and he acts as if he had too much to drink or took one too many Quaaludes.
There are little surprises to this film- maybe instead they are progressive "upgrades" when you compare it to other inside-bank heist films. What working element in a film that came out back then is somehow borrowed and improved and then regurgitated back into this one. And it was all of these upgrades that made me continue to watch this film to its entirety (and also the fact that Ford was one of my favorite actors once upon a time). One thing I could never buy though was how computer-savvy Ford was in this film: I have always thought of him as an analog-type man, a meat-and-potatoes-type, so that was always an annoying obstacle. But I did I like how Bettany always kept control over things and those in that which he could not, and his cunningness after almost killing Ford's son with saying at him, "Are you all right there, big fella?" But my real question in this would be in the story's aftermath: how would Ford and his family get off free with the cops when all of the bad guys are killed (no material witnesses)? Virginia Madsen's voice was still on Forester's answering machine's tape. And Robert Forester had been killed with Ford's gun. If there are no bad guys around, are the cops just supposed to take Harrison and his family's word that they didn't commit any crimes and that the blood on their hands is really the villains' instead? The bad guys all wore gloves so there were no fingerprints, so no forcible entry could be detected. If I didn't know what happened to Ford's family, saw that there was a breach in the network at the bank, saw that there was a body at Ford's house ("Liam," or Nikolai what's-his-face), saw Robert Forester's body that was shot by Ford's gun, I would believe that Ford was the perp, too. And that is exactly how the villains orchestrated framing Ford, or actually, the writers of this film. Only did they not realize that they had written themselves into a gaping hole. Janet (Rasjakub) had only witnessed one side of the equation with Ford, and she magically took his side after he had fired her that same day from the bank. A lot of movies assume that we accept the fact that any mayhem will be arbitrarily dismissed by the authorities if there are no living villains left. That just means less mess to clean up, right?. And so it goes "Firewall" was not a good film. Watch this movie when there is nothing else to watch on cable and you have about an-hour-and-a-half to kill. Or maybe less.
Harrison Ford painfully goes out of his way to be clumsy and a non-action hero throughout all but the last 5 minutes of the movie. But then he's President Ford again, dropping bad guys and saving families! Wine girl does a good job in annoying the boy kidnappers and looking like the most unmatronly Mom in any Hollywood movie of late. Paul Bettany the "bad" guy mopes about and looks like an slightly updated Anthony Michael-Hall on steroids the whole time and gives the family a series of empty threats and vicious looks. Most miscast though is the young and aloof secretary, a "Tess Trueheart," who looks like someone peed in her cornflakes in almost every scene she's in. The bank is so insecure that the bad guys slip in and out unnoticed and PC anywhere appears to work without even an installation. I don't get why the bad guys need Ford other than to act frantic and have him rescue his family for the last 80 minutes of the movie. Go rent "Blade Runner" or "Master and Commander" or even "Sideways" for better films starring the three leads. Or get drunk on wine or beer and shut the TV off after "Firewall's" opening credits and you're in for a better night. Dare I say, the worst Ford movie ever made. An F. 1 star. 4 out of 10.
This movie had all of the makings of a great movie....the beginning action pulls you in, interesting plot....you relate to Harrison Ford's character and his surroundings asap...the villains are unlikeable heavy's...then mid way through the movie, the pace of the film changes and comes across as something that seemed as though it was being added to as the movie was made..or not enough was deleted and cut out of the film...in some cases, the "Jack Ryan" and "Fugitive" resemblances start peeking in...but Harrison Ford is such a great actor,you cannot help but like his ability to play anger and frustration...and this movie plays on that... Overall, you have a good cast, a good idea on the story...but a foolish twist that only leads to a far fetched ending.... my recommendation is: worth watching one time...
As you've all said, we seen all of this before. I even think some of
Ford's canned, pathetic expressions are identical to those in many of
his other movies, such as the Fugitive and Frantic. The reason I don't
think he's at the level of Hanks and others is that he finds it
difficult to express sincere emotions. The facial expressions are
trite, and there will be moments where you can notice the same
exaggerated body movements and gnarled hand expressions that you've
seen in other movies. Sad. That's my 2 cents' worth.
However, the reason that I'm commenting especially is the really bad directing. There are many moments that are not even close to credible responses to the situation, but especially at the very end. Believe it or not, I've watched this thing a couple of times--okay the second time, in the background while I was on the computer--and looking over off and on. The behavior at the very end is so amazingly ridiculous that I had to get online to look up the director.
Still, we let these mediocre action movies run again sometimes. Now that's pathetic.
Humphrey Bogart did this movie in 1955. It was called Desperate Hours. Mickey Rourke starred in the remake in 1990. Ho Hum. Will someone please tell Harrison Ford that he's 64 years old and looks every day of it? I guess we're all supposed to buy the fact that he's that old but has a hot wife 20 years younger. He's old enough to be the kid's Great Grandfather. Gimme a break. Paul Bettany does a good job as the bad guy. Virginia Madsen's talent is totally wasted in this junkpile. It's a shame after she did such a great job in Sideways. As for this film it's an old plot with an electronic twist. Problem is, there were no real surprises since they didn't veer too far from the 1955 and 1990 scripts.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Being a Harrison fan from way back, he did not disappoint me, but? I
felt he presented as somewhat awkward when confronted by Cox, who
appeared a polished crim. I think it was overall a good movie, plenty
of action that did not give one any respite, but possibly that's where
it fell down. How could a man that old physically keep it up? I think
He needs to find characters that have more talking and less action.
However, not being computer literate or understanding networking, a lot
was lost on me I feel.
I think using his name as Jack a reminder of his Patriot Games, etc., may have compared him with his character in those movies, that were far superior to this one in my opinion.
I thought the little boy acted very realistically. (He'll go far I think?) And the cute little dog too. It was just Harrisons almost continual pained expressions on his face that began to pall with me.
Sorry couldn't give it a higher vote than 5. This time out anyway.
As far as action-thrillers go, this offers a healthy dose of tension but is undone by its weak, all-too-stereotypical ending. (All that was missing was the slo-mo effect.) A little more attention to the technical side of carrying out the "evil plot" and a lot more believability in terms of characterization would have gone far. But it's always great seeing Harrison play a role that requires him to get physical. It covers up for his standard single-dimensional character development and patented moves and expressions. Paul Bettany delivered yet another rivetingly believable performance, though, so this flick was only half-bad. An OK time-passing renter for $4.
Loncraine's suspenseful film about a bank's security specialist(Ford) being blackmailed into stealing money for a criminal (Bettany) is at times exciting, gets the job done, but lacks the creativity needed to be regarded as a great films. Much similar to my view on films like Cellular but fails to impress me as much as the likes of Enemy of the State. Loncraine's direction is pretty, good the performances are decent, Bettany did real well as the villain and Arkin and Patrick did well in supporting roles. I guess my real problem with this is there is very little that makes it standout in comparison to a dozen of other suspense films, perhaps not enough originality from screenwriter Joe Forte. 8/10
"Firewall" is good old-fashioned entertainment. It's nothing more. It
doesn't attempt to become the next master-thriller; nor does it try and
achieve some type of infallible status, which is interesting since so
many people here on the IMDb message boards have taken it upon
themselves to dissect the plot to lengthy extremes. One user claims
it's a technical error that Harrison Ford's character, Jack, uses a
Windows operating system instead of Unix or Linux. People, it's a
movie. And for the record, it was a personal computer in his office,
not the computer the bank's database was stored on.
I think part of the reason so many people are picking it apart is because they're all computer geeks who feel the need to prove how unrealistic the technology is in the film. They feel offended that Hollywood would not accurately reflect their world. Well, now they will perhaps understand why WWII vets hated the movie "Pearl Harbor" and historians in general hate any historical epic that Hollywood puts out.
As it is, I was pleasantly surprised by the film's honest presentation of modern technology. Most computer-movies over the past decade (films such as "The Net") seemed to never show anyone using realistic operating systems, and - the thing that always bugs me the most - people in movies NEVER use a mouse; they just use their keyboards to seemingly do everything.
"Firewall" is different. Even the Internet browsers and screensavers in the movie are those used by average people. It lends the film a more authentic sense.
The plot is silly: Jack (Ford) works at a bank, where he oversees the security systems. His family is taken hostage by a gang of ruthless crooks (led by Paul Bettany) who demand that Jack assist them in breaking past the bank's security systems to steal $100 million.
A lot of it doesn't make sense. Apart from questionable technology (Jack hooks up a scanner to an iPod so he can store database numbers on the hard drive - "It doesn't know the different between 10,000 songs and 10,000 bank account numbers" according to the script), the crooks are some of the most incapable thieves ever. They spent a vast amount of time following Jack in preparation for their heist, but know absolutely nothing about the bank - and aren't even aware that the security system has recently been changed, therefore disallowing them from breaking in the way they had hoped.
Plus, there's no firewall in the movie, except for a lame metaphor at the end.
However, I was entertained. It's not great film-making by any means, and with better direction and scriptwriting it could have been more plausible a thriller, but it works fairly well as it is. Ford delivers a typically reliable performance and wipes the floor with Bettany, who was a major disappointment (what happened?! He should have made a fantastic villain).
It's not Hitchcock but it's not terrible either.
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