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|Index||308 reviews in total|
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.
"Firewall" puts Harrison Ford between a rock and a hard place. Here's a
man who's a power-player in his field forced to sabotage his career by
money-hungry men with no regard for his profession. These men wear
suits and inhabit the boardrooms of the biggest studios in Hollywood.
But what about the movie?
In this second-rate action flick, Ford plays computer security specialist Jack Stanfield, a loyal bank executive and serious family man who lives in a stunning house with wife Beth (Virginia Madsen) and two kids. But a bigger company is about to buy out Jack's bank and, as a result, his company is under more surveillance than usual.
We learn early on that Jack's family is being watched also. The film opens nicely with footage of the Stanfield family going about their daily business and it's footage obviously shot in secret from a distance. After the montage is over, however, the voyeuristic thrill of stalking an unwitting target is never again recaptured. Instead, we are treated to the achingly slow process of Jack being introduced to and later cornered by villain Bill Cox (Paul Bettany).
Cox is a straight-faced criminal plotting to use Jack's technological know-how to break the codes and circumvent the firewalls built to protect Landrock Pacific Bank's millions. He and a group of young gun-toting mercenaries barge into Jack's life and take the family hostage - a persuasive tactic, one would think, but it takes Jack a surprisingly long time to understand the gravity of this threat and take appropriate action.
Cox's crack team doesn't exactly have a lot of "crack" left in its whip. These amateur goons are obnoxious and bumble around not at all invested in what they're doing. Much of the movie shows them cloistered in the Stanfield household, eating food and watching TV while their prisoners wander around more or less undisturbed and certainly not imprisoned.
In fact, nobody seems to care about the situation not the kids, not Jack, not Beth. So why should director Richard Loncraine expect us to care either? Madsen was brilliant in "Sideways," but in "Firewall" her performance is lacking. There are no hysterics, no tears and no signs of any inner emotional struggle when strangers threaten her with guns. Instead, Beth is calm, which, in the context of an action-thriller, is a counterintuitive choice for the actress to make. Nevertheless, it's Harrison Ford who seems to be making most of the bad choices these days.
As I watched Jack sit on the couch in one scene, the deep crags in his face twitching as he tries to figure out how to get out of this situation, I wondered if what I was really witnessing was the actor behind the character trying to figure out a way to get out of this movie. Ford's effort is admirable, but, unfortunately, the half-baked script and meager direction undermines any positives brought to the table.
It's a shame, too, because "Firewall" also features the talents of veterans such as Robert Forster ("Jackie Brown"), Alan Arkin ("Slums of Beverly Hills") and Robert Patrick ("Terminator 2: Judgment Day"). Mary Lynn Rajskub of "24" fame also stars, reprising her role as the only girl you can trust at the office. Stick to Jack Bauer, Mary, and I'll stick to television when I want a good thriller.
Incidentally, guess what's up next for Keifer Sutherland: action-thriller "The Sentinel," with old-timer Michael Douglas in the lead. It just keeps getting better, doesn't it?
Copyright (c) 2006 by Lauren Simpson
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 was definitely impressed with Firewall. Yes, Harrison Ford has done
this type of movie before, but it was great to see him make a quality
action/thriller again. Ford proves at 63, he can still do these types
of movies. Very entertaining movie overall.
I think it is safe to say that he can still make another Indiana Jones movie, which I hope begins filming after his next movie, Manhunt. He looks great for his age, and I was amazed at the extent of the action sequences that he did. Great performances all around, especially Paul Bettany as the bad guy. Hopefully, Firewall will put to rest all the negative people who claim Ford is done. On the contrary, Harrison Ford is back!
Firewall is an overall highly entertaining movie. Harrison Ford nails
the white-collar character of Jack Stanfield, and Paul Bettany plays a
believable (yet somehow lovable) bad guy.
The movie is filled with surprising plot twists and a few action sequences that made the audience I was in gasp with emotion. From start to finish, the audience goes back and forth from knowing more than the characters, to being just as confused as the characters. This made the movie all the more entertaining to watch.
Humor was used in many of the parts of the movie, including some laugh out loud scenes between Jack and his secretary. Also, Jack's son and the kidnappers have a few exceptionally funny scenes together.
The acting and entertainment value of this movie deserves an A+. Harrison Ford is back in action and believe me, he is still the man!
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 ***
(Originally reviewed: 18/02/2017) I've seen these a dozen times, were
my first thoughts after the first two acts; but by the end I was
depressingly bored with it's by the numbers clichés and constant lack
of originality. Harrison Ford is the only one who even tries in the
film and even he looks like he's bored at times; most of the other
performances are either forgettable or pay check worthy; take Paul
Bettany for example who plays the so called 'mastermind' behind this
hostage situation, he has the same expression throughout up until a
fight scene requires him to actually act like he cares; the rest of the
cast which also includes Virginia Madsen, Robert Forster and Robert
Patrick also phone it in; with the exception of Forster of course; but
then again he barely gets any screen time in this film.
The dialogue is astoundingly awful at times; this includes Bettany telling one of his henchman "You're a criminal, not an executive", and an even worse one where Ford yells "What do you want" and Bettany says "I want to get you home, its pizza night". Who on earth thought this was acceptable or decent dialogue. Later on lines such as "Open Sesame" are also said; and I kept thinking where have I heard this before; and the answer might be back when it was actually new.
The script is oh so predictable with a typical escape attempt that was clearly going to fail; but if you're going to be clichéd; you might as well include an attempted escape. Bettany's character is also sick and pointless, tells the kid with a nut allergy that there's no peanuts in the biscuits; guess what? There was; as you see him nearly lose his life; I knew that the guy was lying and this particular scene is cruel and pointless, it had no reason to be there. Another thing I noticed was another unbelievable moment where Ford's character fires his secretary because Bettany doesn't like the way she looks at him, not only is this highly unlikeable to happen in real life, it's yet again another stupid moment; in a fairly pointless film. Richard Loncraine's direction isn't even good with no memorable either, its standard mediocrity, which one would expect from a director films.
Firewall suffers from its predictability, and all round boring writing; I never felt thrilled, excited or surprised; it has every cliché in the book combined with mostly forgettable performances and a typical third act that results in your usual action sequence, but even that managed to be boring; this film is a one note, unoriginal piece of trash.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Jack Stanfield" (Harrison Ford) is a security expert for a bank that has recently merged with another financial institution in another city. This merger requires him to coordinate everything with an executive named "Gary Mitchell" (Robert Patrick) who works for the other bank and is not a very pleasant person at all. This becomes even more difficult when a group of high-tech thieves invade his home and kidnap his wife, "Beth" (Virginia Madsen) and their two children. Their demand is quite simpleeither Jack helps them to gain access to the bank's computer in order to withdraw $100 million or they kill his family. And the leader of the thieves, who goes by the name of "Rich" (David Lewis) is quite serious. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this turned out to be a decent film all things considered. I especially liked the manner in which the director (Richard Loncraine) managed to maintain the suspense from start to finish. On the other hand, I thought that the ending was a bit too unrealistic and could have used a little more imagination. But even so, the film kept my attention and because of that I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The story is like this: very successful family being terrorized by bandits in their own home. This story we've heard plenty of before, and it has been portrayed far better in other films than in this one. My biggest objection against this film is that it gets boring and one- sided to see the bad guys terrorizing this family in every way possible. This is a very easy-told story, and the characters are one dimensional portrayed. Yes, we already know in the beginning that this is certainly going to end well. This is not Harrison Ford's best film. He does as well as he can, in the role of tormented family man. Otherwise I have not much more to say. This is not very good.
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