You know a movie is forgettable when the highlight of the day is who you were with, and not anything that happened in the movie. But that’s exact situation I find myself in with 2006’s “Firewall.”
Harrison Ford stars as Jack Stanfield, the online security chief for a mid-sized banking chain on the west coast. One day a colleague introduces Jack to a possible new client named Bill Cox (Paul Bettany), but it turns out to be a setup. Cox holds Jack at gun point and makes him drive home. There, Jack finds Cox’s thugs are holding his wife (Virginia Madsen) and their two children, Andy (Jimmy Bennett) and Sarah (Carly Schroeder), hostage.
Bill Cox wants Stanfield to hack into the bank’s computers and transfer $10,000 each from the bank’s 10,000 largest depositors – $100 million total– to Cox’s offshore bank accounts. Cox even goes one step further, he rigs Jack with a camera and microphone to make sure he doesn’t ask someone for help or makes any changes to the plans.
The rules of the game are simple: If Jack complies with everything Cox says, no harm will come to his wife and children. But should Jack try anything, well, you can probably guess what happens then.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that set up, but there have been so many other movies about people whose families are held hostage until they do something for the villains. The problem is that “Firewall” doesn’t really try do anything new here. Oh no wait, I take that back. “Firewall” did try to shake up the formula.
For instance, the plot of the movie has Harrison Ford as a tech genius, which I’m sorry, but I did not buy for a minute. Ford is a great actor, but he doesn’t scream tech guru to me. He looked like your grandpa trying to figure out what this damn internet is for. This is especially obvious when Ford uses other gadgets to get word out about what’s happening to him and his family.
The filmmakers also made Virginia Madsen’s character an architect, and she eventually used skills to try to escape the captors, because of course she designed their house. That’s was new I guess, but I don’t remember it having any sort of payoff.
And when all is said and done, this movie becomes another Harrison Ford adventure where his family is in danger, and we’ve seen it before and it was done much better.
I saw “Firewall” during one of our now famous “Tuesday Movie Nights” at the Patriot cinema near the Hanover Mall in Hanover MA. This particular movie night I was with Laneit, Ali, and her sister Caitlin. “Firewall” was actually our second film of the day. Earlier in the afternoon we sat through the comedy (if you can call it that), “Date Night.”
Needless to say, we’ve had better movie going experiences. No one in the group liked either movie, but I think we were especially disappointed in “Firewall.” In fact, one of us was so bored during Harrison Ford’s third attempt to escape, that Laneit fell asleep and started snoring. If you think a THX system can out drown his snoring, think again.