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Reviews & Ratings for
Firewall More at IMDbPro »

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Excellent action, but a little disappointing ending

Author: black_blade001 from Canada
8 November 2008

Wife and I just watched this movie, and we found it for the most part to be an excellent action/thriller. Good acting all around. Nobody should be disappointed that they spent the time watching it. I can't recall a Harrison Ford film that I can say I was truly disappointed in and this one was no exception. This movie ranks up there with Bruce Willis's Live Free or Die Hard, another excellent film with computer hacking and such being the main theme. The fact that a several sub plots were not tidied up at the end was a tad disappointing-one more scene tying up loose ends back at the office would have finished it properly.

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Brief and dramatic title but the film is anything but.

Author: johnnyboyz from Hampshire, England
4 October 2008

How does a film with a good cast; a quick pacing; a couple of fight scenes and a constant flow of menace rounded off with a few would-be mildly interesting chases come across as so ordinary and uninteresting? Part of the reason is that the film is pure, out and out formula rounding off its establishment of events; plunging its weary but worth it hero through several scrapes that make up the crucible before delivering everyone to an individual location set away from the rest of the story's setting for the final fight (complete with twist of fate, fatal blow, et al).

A couple of months ago, I saw a Bruce Willis film called Hostage which was made not too long before Firewall. I liked Hostage and the similarities in plot and so forth with this film makes it even more surprising at just how disappointing Firewall really is. I liked how the antagonists in Hostage overran the house they were to inhabit for the film; I liked the use of spaces in that film – the large house in Hostage was a bizarre, post-modern locale for the three young hoodlums all of whom came from much lesser backgrounds and the scenes where they initially drifted through the beautiful house, ogling at the wooden decked walls and admiring the post-modern decorative touches such as the waterfall within the pane of glass ornament felt significant and made us feel that they were out of their depth. Firewall is more simplistic; it's more easy on the brain.

It feels less of a film because the enemies that invade Jack Stanfield's (Ford) house are suit wearing hackers equipped with machine guns and dodgy character reasoning – there is also a touch of poor casting. The space that is Jack's house is nothing more than a bog standard place of dwelling with separate rooms designated for cooking, holding the prisoners and entering and exiting. It's small, cramped and uninteresting with not even any claustrophobic aura really getting across all too well.

The film is very topical and it slides effortlessly into the current affairs genre when looking at the world in which we live. The film is about theft; electrical theft. Maybe not long gone are the days in which the only way to accumulate a large amount of money by way of robbery is to venture into a bank armed with a shotgun, but with films like Firewall you get the feeling the day is neigh in which gangsters or criminals do not need a weapons specialist or a tactician more-so they need a computer hacker when it comes to robbery. Firewall looks at theft; identity theft and fraud in general, something that is certainly a growing fear amongst people in the world now, I feel, especially with so much business done through computers over the last ten years and certainly with the rise in the Internet banking function.

So I think Firewall wants to get across this very real feeling that the threat is happening, indeed is around us. But the manner in which Firewall executes these ideas renders it looking too much like a typical, brainless action film which I think it would rather see itself as. As a character, Jack Stanfield is an uninteresting and tired hero figure; made only to seem all that more energetic because it is Harrison Ford playing the role, someone we all know from films like Patriot Games and The Fugitive; films that revolve around chase and take on an 'against the clock', cut and thrust approach. All Firewall proves is that in his early 60s, Ford can still play the role and director Richard Loncraine has seen said films and can make one of his own.

Unfortunately, Ford grumbles his way through the role but tries to keep a serious face as he delivers exactly what he needs to say but it all comes across as quite comical. Paul Bettany plays Bill Cox, the leader of the thieves that comprise of various actors you may recognise from various other films; all looking tough and acting tough – the computer expert has glasses and the hard-nut has a body piercing, keeping up the tradition of having baddie henchmen scarred in some form (see Bond villains and their associates for further reading). As a villain, Cox is of the British variety but he's a Brit playing a Brit and whilst not necessarily typically evil; he is typically highly intelligent – the most intelligent in the film bar the actual hero, similalry to the casting of Rickman in Die Hard; Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs and Oldman in Harrison Ford's very own Air Force One amongst many other examples.

Equally out of sorts is Jack's secretary Janet (Rajskub) who stands around for the entire film looking as if she is about to burst into tears. There's one instance that actually evokes laughter to do with this character and that's when Janet blurts out into Jack's face 'Screw you, Jack!' in a comical and grossly misplaced manner that has the audience relax; something that cannot be good in a taught and pot-boiling film of this manner. While it's easy to look past things and enjoy Firewall for what it is, it is a mess and not a particularly interesting one either. I just wonder if Harrison Ford will stop with this genre now - his two year gap between this and Indiana Jones 4 instils me with some confidence that he will.

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Fire everyone except RiffTrax!

Author: Gary170459 from Derby, UK
4 October 2008

By choice I don't watch many modern movies so when I saw this I was surprised just how Harrison Ford had aged since The Fugitive; cgi cartoonery or strings must have been used on him for Indiana Jones #4 surely. The RiffTrax version of Firewall is merciless in referring to him as Grandpa and suffering a little from the pace of film-making today. They turn a bad film into a very funny one, because it had it coming.

Chunky and grumbly grey bank boss with Frankenstein haircut has his family held hostage by band of technosavvy yet incompetent baddies to his robbing the bank for them. It's relentlessly crap and to call it clichéd would do it an undeserved favour - although mainly listening for the Riffs I could barely follow the original tripe even if I'd really wanted to. In fact I can hardly believe that millions of dollars must have been spent on it - that was the real (unpunished) robbery, and the story also appeared to have more holes in it than it had cheese. The RiffTrax team made sure that no faults were left undetected and exposed. On the positive side … it's still much better than Blazing Saddles.

The original of this appears to me to have little to recommend it - the acting and production values are generally OK but the plot was vacant. My advice is to keep your personal firewall up and save your valuable time and personal memory space but that the pisstake is well worth the effort.

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Bank Holdup

Author: whpratt1 from United States
22 September 2008

Harrison Ford, (Jack Stanfield) played the role as a big executive at an International Bank and lived in a beautiful home designed by his wife, Beth Stanfield, ( Virginia Madsen) They have two children, a young boy and a teenage girl and they all get along like a typical family. One day their lives changes when some very experienced hackers managed to break into their home and set up shop, even with their own TV dinners and high class computer equipment. It does not become long when this invasion of their home begins to wear everyone down and that is when the drama increases. There is a familiar face in this film who appeared in the "24" TV series and she is also a secretary to Jack Stanfield at the bank. This is a different type of bank robbery with high class computer experts going crazy. Enjoy.

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Not Enough Fire in this Wall

Author: TimBoHannon from Seattle Washington area
11 September 2008

I often grow frustrated when I watch movies like "Firewall." The protagonists are put into a powerless situation, and then both they and Team Evil make stupid, stupider, and stupidest decisions. I often defend movies from the "Logic Police" based on the fact that a character does not have time for analysis or is operating on imperfect and/or deluded information. What makes this class of thrillers different is that all of the players have a lot of time to consider their next move.

Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford) is the cyber-security czar of a bank franchise. He has a lovely architect wife named Beth (Virginia Madsen) and two beautiful children named Sarah and Andy (Carly Schroeder and Jimmy Bennett), tucked away in their scenic luxury house. While he is away, his family is made captive by four hoodlums taking orders from Bill Cox (Paul Bettany). Cox holds them under a modified house arrest, and offers Jack their safety in exchange for aid in embezzling one-hundred million dollars. Stanfield cannot find help since they are monitoring his every move.

Although "Firewall" is somewhat successful in diverting my mind, I often wanted to yell at the screen, "SAY THIS!" or "YOU IDIOT!" Stanfield makes the situation worse by shutting his captors out his thought process. Even while devising an escape, he could split his thoughts between that and accessing the money. Then he could prove that he is trying as opposed to forcing them to read his mind. While making the situation easier on his family, he could relax his captors into making a critical error. Instead, he allows Cox's irritation and mistrust to grow. Only when Cox literally holds Andy's life in his palm does Stanfield start communicating. Earlier, one of Cox's associates (Vincent Gale) lands in hot water. With a minimum of thought, he could figure out what went wrong. Instead, he stammers and apologizes, making the problem worse.

Another irritant comes when a character is in the middle of a crucial maneuver and gets derailed by some insignificant detail. When Beth, Sarah and Andy have a chance to flee, they take time to buckle up, look at their familiar surroundings and panic. The duress argument does not work here. They had plenty to time to contemplate the situation. I do know how I would respond. I play intense video games and have been in real life situations (at least two that were potentially life and death) where every second counts. Stanfield is creating a diversion but has to stop so he will not be discovered. If he had merely gone to the bathroom, he would have given his family more precious seconds. All of these problems could have been fixed without script surgery. If a movie can be enjoyed in the moment and shot full of holes later, that is fine. It is not fine when I am constantly outsmarting the characters on my first viewing. Smart characters are what make movies like "Deep Blue Sea" and "Event Horizon" such pleasures. No such luck for those who view "Firewall."

In the plus column, the chess match between Jack and Cox has some fine ideas, and Ford and Bettany sell the conflict. Ford is an unusual choice since he is 63 and Sarah is stated to be 14. When we see his scenes of abrasive, teeth-grinding anger, we see the producers' wisdom in casting him anyway. He turns the tables on Cox, who threatens to murder his wife. He contorts his face into the mask fury and growls "You do to anything her or my children and you don't get a dime!" I've been waiting for years to hear a character issue that counter-threat.

Bettany brings an unusual flavor to Cox. He approaches the character as a sophisticated man who defies the title "gentleman" only with his actions. Aside from Liam (Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau, an interesting name for an actor speaking unaccented English), he regards his helpers as inferior and does not always hide it. When he sees Stanfield's family bound and silenced, he becomes irritated at the amount of force his men used. Bettany accomplishes much by keeping a reasonable demeanor in Cox's personal interactions. His work here is as good as it was in "A Beautiful Mind," and vastly better than what we saw in "A Knight's Tale."

The last twenty minutes of the movie are not as interesting, and the climactic action comes and goes too quickly; the movie forgets that Stanfield is carrying a loaded pistol. However, the brawl between Jack and Cox is made with flair and lasts two minutes, which seems much longer in an uninterrupted fight. It does not compare to the Die Hard movies of the last seven Bond adventures, but it outpaces standard fare. It is too bad that so little preceded it, because, like the rest of the movie, the final encounter is almost good enough.

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Eat up laddie...

Author: logans_place from Andorra
7 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was watching this film quite late at night, with the eyelids getting heavier so I may have missed something here however overall, this was a disappointing film.

Apart from the two kids the acting was very good with some excellent performances by the bad guys. Ford was not unconvincing either but looking a little withered to be playing this sort of role (Having said that he was good in the latest Indy film). What really got to me was the poor story and some awful script in places particularly the bit where the son is about to eat the biscuit and asks Bettany, who has just held a gun to the young boy's sister, where his mum and dad are in a tone which sounded more like he would to his elder brother than a nasty kidnapper. The kid then takes a biscuit despite being allergic to peanuts without so much as a squeak. If I were Ford I would have made him eat the packet then watch him suffer for this patent lack of imaginative story by the writers.

Another gripe was the ease at which Ford could have overwhelmed Bettany and saved his family. Bettany relied on it being over in a day or two but when it dragged out why was Ford still pratting about despite knowing the mercenary nature of the men holding his family. They were only in it for the cash and fear of Bettany so remove the head and the body falls. In additional I felt the film's title was mismatched because it was nothing to do with firewalls, in fact it was only marginally to do with technology at all.

There were a few good points though. The most obvious was the director's neat touches here and there to spice up a otherwise dull film. Someone must have had too much talent for the script so put in cool little extra touches like the pick axe and killing of the bad guy with the car. Robert Patrick's role was a good red herring as was the business partner.

Overall the few good bits were excellent whilst the bad bits like the ending were dreadful. Whoever came up with the last few frames with Ford and his family coming over the hill with the dog running towards them should go and have a few packets of peanut filled biscuits.

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Warning/bad movie

Author: cowboymusic from Denmark
12 November 2007

I'll get to the point right away! This movie sucks. I must admit - I like Harrison Ford - But this movie is without substance. I won't tell and spoil by telling how the story goes, but IF you are one of those guys who just cant take kids and nice wife's in movies, you would want to kick not only the their dog, but kick the hole inventory of their mega house lying by the sea. What I personally do not understand is why Ford is even interested in doing this movie???? Beats me... really!

The problem with this movie is that it is so full of clichés that you almost feel like you know whats gonna happen. Let me give an example: At one early point in this movie the mom, and her kids tries to escape the bad guys - Even before the scene really takes off you already know that they will not succeed, and it sucks to be right. Another example is this: Ford tries a couple of times to outsmart the bad guys, but being not totally stupid we all know that the writer of this manus will not allow Ford being a hero before the 2 * 60 min has passed. So - surprise - hes outsmarted in 90% of the movie, but like we wish for he made a superhomerun in the end. Surprice surprise.

Im sorry, but I could have written a better story than in this case and do not understand why people are willing to waste such a big amount of dollars in a movie so utterly hopeless, and mistimed in so many aspects. The cast is probably well educated and professionals, but the storyline is so weak that it totally erases the talent of the actors.

Don't spent any time on this one.

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Average thriller with Harrison Ford...that's pretty much it

Author: powerfull_jedi from Portugal
15 August 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I finally had a chance to watch this movie on rental and I was pretty unimpressed, apart from the last minutes. While it does show that Harrison Ford's still got it, the whole setup, the plot and pretty much everything else(including the antagonists) is just below average. In Firewall, we meet Jack Stanfield, a computer manager at a bank, whose wife and children are made hostage by a bank robber(played by Paul Bettany) who seems to have been watching him for months on end, poses himself as an investor and demands Jack to hack his own bank and steal money for the bank robber and his gang. From start to finish, I was rather unimpressed as the movie felt clichéd as far as hostage movies go, but also at some times comical, as the henchmen are some of the most polite and caring thugs I've ever seen, they honestly sound and act like frat boys trying to act tough, they engage in casual conversations(even the main bad guy) with Jack's family members, politely ask them if they need to use the restroom, so forth. You'd have a hard time mistaking these guys for thugs, save only for their main villain. The plot is nothing especial and will probably make one or two computer techies cringe by how some of the concepts are so silly(a computer security manager has a 4 word password and it's named after such a huge object? That's Most Common Computer Security No-nos 101 for anyone in this line of work, one wonders how those villains with so much spying going around, missed something that obvious), some tense moments here and there, but the whole real enjoyable moment is the last action scene where the main bad guy(I just call him this, because his true name is never mentioned) and Jack engage in all an-all out fist fight. Honestly, there really isn't much to say, it looks average. Harrison Ford does good with the material he's got and Paul Bettany is somewhat convincing as the main villain, even if his henchmen sound like they walked off the set of American Pie. It's OK for a rental and that's about it.

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Harrison in the Firewall Land

Author: native_girl333 from Finland
11 August 2007

Jack Stanfield has a career in banking, beautiful wife and two lovely children. The perfect life is shattered when a crook Bill Cox wants big money with the assistant of Jack. Cox brakes into Jack's house and takes his family for hostage. Jack has to break and enter the bank's system or he can kiss his family goodbye.

The plot is very old. It reminds me of the new movies like "The Hostage" or "Panic Room". Because of the worn-out plot line the film drags. "Firewall" presents the new high technology and when it really helps and works. The movie manages to be somewhat enjoyable but the quick ending lefts you wonder why did they make this movie at all? Harrison Ford makes a subtle performance as a persistent family man trying to save his family. Paul Bettany delivers the role of Bill Cox with a touch of unlikable gentleman. Virginia Madsen is good but unfortunately her part as Jack's wife is left very thin in the battle of Ford and Bettany.

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Slickly made, great cast, ultimately disappointing

Author: gws-2 from United States
3 June 2007

I decided to watch "Firewall" only because of its remarkably talented cast, Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany Virginia Madsen, and Robert Forster, among others. The only negative I saw in the casting was that Ford was 20 years old for his role but, come to think of it, he has been 20 years old for every part he has had in recent years. The camera is always well placed and the visuals serve the story well. Unfortunately, this silly mess of a movie was too slight to be saved by anything or anybody.

The setup involves a preposterous kidnapping of the Ford character's, Jack Stanfield, family, following which the kidnappers, even more preposterously, send Stanfield back to his office to use his computer skills to steal millions from the bank he works for. It goes down hill from there.

"Firewall" proves that high production values and a talented cast can't overcome bad writing. I have given it 6 of 10 stars only because its talented cast and competent direction saved it from being entirely unwatchable. Nevertheless, I can't recommended it.

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