Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford) is an average family man in Seattle who heads up the hi-tech security team at his local bank. But following a seemingly...
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Review of "Firewall (DVD)"
After a busy day on my feet, traipsing around a shopping centre all I wanted was a nice film to watch in the evening with my glass of Baileys. Somehow I ended up watching Firewall.The first ten minutes of the film introduce you to Harrison Ford, a successful Head of Network Security for a Seattle bank, his wife Beth (Virginia Masden) and his two kids Sarah (Carly Schroeder) and Andy (Jimmy Bennett). The film starts mundanely with bickering kids and dad going off to work and it seems the film is going to be as dull as dishwater, a very slow start and I'm already yawning extensively.
Ford scrubs up very well in a suit and looks every bit the part of an Executive member of the Board, Jack Stanfield. He plays the character as a serious man with the responsibilities of his position weighing heavily on his shoulders. This is even before the film kick starts into action which is a shame really as you rarely get to see Ford smile.Essentially this film is a bank robbery by electronic means. Jack Stanfield and his family are taken hostage in their own home by a group of intellectual criminals who use Jack's position at the bank to access and transfer millions of dollars from thousands of accounts. As the hostage action happens, the film launches into a stressful movie to watch. Jack is forced to go back into work at the bank fully equipped with microphone and gadget video pen in pocket. He is instructed to behave normally or his family will be killed. There is plenty of tension and action as Stanfield bends the rules a bit and acts as the superhero dad. You do get the impression that these acts of heroism are added to give the film a bit of interest and that no one in their right mind would try such antics with the lives of their family at stake. The hostage takers are shown as a not to be messed with gang after a few cold blooded incidents which made me utter actual gasps. For a certificate 12 I found a few of these quite shocking.
This is a thriller rather than an action movie, although there are a few Indiana Jones style scenes towards the end. Surely Ford is getting a bit old for such rough and tumble. Perhaps he's getting some practise in for Indie 4 due out in 2008.Ford acts well thoughout and he really does come across as a stressed out, anxious man. There is little in the way of laughs but you might just get a bit of a giggle from some of the scenes with his secretary Janet (Mary Lynn Rajskub from '24'). Janet has a role to play in aiding Jack in his hour of need. She adds a little warmth to the film. Beth Stanfield is the perfect pretty wife and Marsden plays her well enough although she really has nothing of a role to get into. There are also other well known actors who only get a limited air time (Robert Forster, Alan Arkin and Robert Patrick).
One thing you cant help but notice that it is always raining in Seattle and I mean not just raining but absolutely torrential downpours. I'm not sure if this is true to life or simply added to give the film that extra wet factor or perhaps it was just a wet patch in the career of film Director Richard Loncraine.One thing that I felt did not work well in this film was the casting of the hostage takers. The leader of the gang Bill Cox is played by Paul Bettany. His bright blue eyes, immaculate hair and crisp cotton shirt made him look anything like the bad guy although he did portray a cold blooded intellectual very well. Perhaps Director Richard Loncraine was intentionally trying to portray a non typical baddie. For me it didn't work. Someone who can kill in cold blood should have evil eyes at least. The criminal team were a strange bunch who didn't seem to gel and the only convincing bad guy was the one who booted the pet dog (complete with petnav collar) out of the car for barking too much.
Jack Stanfield - Harrison Ford
Bill Cox - Paul Bettany
Beth Stanfield - Virginia Masden
Janet Stone - Mary Lynn Rajskub
Sarah Stanfield - Carly Schroeder
Andy Stanfield - Jimmy Bennett
Gary Mitchell - Robert Patrick
Harry Romano - Robert Forster
Arlin Forester - Alan Arkin
Running Time: (1 hour 45 mins)
Certificate 12 (UK): - Some violent scenes.
In summary this film is worth a watch on rental if you like a thriller but I wouldn't want to purchase it. It's a relatively stressful hour and a half of film and the plot is a little predictable. However it doesn't engage your brain too much and it's a reasonable film with plenty of credible actors. Harrison Ford fans will probably enjoy the film because although Ford plays mostly a role similar to that of his characters in Patriot Games and The Fugitive, there's also a bit of the old Indiana Jones creeping into the final showdown. If you want an intellectual bank robbery with added humour, I would recommend Inside Man in preference. I would give this 3.5 stars if I could. It's OK but not great.Thanks for reading.
Product Information : Firewall (DVD)
Manufacturer's product descriptionJack Stanfield (Harrison Ford) is an average family man in Seattle who heads up the hi-tech security team at his local bank. But following a seemingly trivial case of identity theft, Jack's life is turned upside-down when he discovers that his wife (Virginia Madsen) and two kids have been kidnapped. The ransom? A mere 100 million dollars, which the kidnappers, led by Bill Cox (Paul Bettany), want Jack to obtain for them via his expert computer skills. Initially compliant, Jack is soon irked by Cox and his cronies to the point where he decides to get his family back and bring the bad guys to justice. British Director Richard Loncraine (WIMBLEDON) uses this basic premise to orchestrate a number of frantic set-pieces, while Ford concocts a character similar to his take on Dr. Richard Kimble in THE FUGITIVE. With a mouthful of computer jargon and nimble fingers that tumble frantically over a keyboard whenever he's in front of a computer, Ford's character is an unlikely action hero. Meanwhile, Bettany's bad guy gives subtly sinister instructions in his clipped British accent, Robert Forster (JACKIE BROWN) provides a likeable if underused ally for Ford, and Madsen slots neatly into her wife-in-peril role. As the film builds to an explosive climax Loncraine dumps the gadgets and carves out a delirious romp through action-movie conventions, ultimately infusing an old-fashioned story with a twist of 21st-century techno-fear.
Listed on Ciao since: 05/05/2007