Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Review: Firewall

Action, violence, and Harrison Ford. “Firewall” has all the ingredients of another perfect suspense film.

Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford) is your typical rich, family man. All he cares about is his family and work.

The family is complete with a beautiful, faithful wife (Virginia Madsen), annoying little brother (Jimmy Bennet), and rebellious older sister (Carly Schroeder).

Jack owns his own bank, and is a bank security expert. He designed a flawless, top security system for his bank.

Things change, however, when a group of men kidnap Jack’s family and threaten to kill them if he doesn’t find a flaw in his system and transfer $100 million stolen money into their account.

The group is led by Bill Cox (Paul Bettany of “Wimbledon” and “A Knight’s Tale”), who knows almost every single detail about Jack and his family.

It’s up to Jack to save his family and get the money back at the same time, turning the game around and giving the villains a taste of their own medicine.

No matter how similar a plot may be to Ford’s previous movies, there is no getting past how well he plays the roles. You never get bored with his acting. His emotions, facial expressions, and tone of voice always draw the audience in with a perfectly, tense moments.

Bettany takes on a new persona in the film. He normally does more sensitive, shy roles in movies such as “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” and “A Beautiful Mind.” One thing doesn’t change in his roles - he is always the clever English-man with some secret to unfold. Now, he is the brutal, unrelenting, deceiving Cox, who even resorts to giving Jack’s son cookies he is allergic to. Bettany is good at his new role. He is very mysterious. You are never sure whether he has a humane side to him or not. He even gets the kids on his side for a short while.

The plot, although unoriginal, is satisfying. It gets better as it goes along, and better, and better, until it comes to a perfectly thought out, but abrupt ending.

Jack’s attempts to escape the nightmare are put together well. At one point, he has a hidden camera in a pen he has in his shirt pocket. He gets close to his secretary (Mary Lynn Rajskub of TV’s “24”) and sneakily switches the pen to his secretary’s pocket.

The great thing about the ending is that it isn’t “cheesy.” The last fight scene doesn’t just happen. It is detailed and long, ending with an axe in the back of one of the villains.

For a suspense film, though, it fails to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. While there are plenty of twists to keep you interested, the film does tend to go on and on, and get a little boring in parts. The first two thirds of the film are all talk and no action. There are no special effects until the finale.

The one complaint I have is the language. The F word is used once, unnecessarily, and there are plenty of other offenses.

Still, director Richard Loncraine has managed to stage out a good drama. It’s not perfect, and it’s very predictable, but hey, that’s Harrison Ford.

“Firewall” is highlighted by its actors, and is sure to please any Ford or Bettany fan.

No comments: