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Published on June 21st, 2008 | by simeon

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Firewall

Following a three year absence from the big screen, box office megastar Harrison Ford returns in Firewall as Ford Jack Stanfield, a devoted family man who works designing and maintaining networks and security systems for a small chain of banks. Jack who along with his wife Beth (Virginia Madsen), and their two children live a comfortable life in a Seattle suburb in a luxurious home that Beth designed.

The twenty-four banks owned by Jack’s firm are in the process of being acquired by a large chain and the resulting windfall from this venture is making people on both sides tense and excited as the merger draws closure. Jack has some reservations about the new firm’s lack of customer service and acceptance of security losses which he believes will be passed on to their customers. This stance draws tension from a representative of the new partner (Robert Patrick), and has caused Jack to go to a meeting with a potential client who is looking to engage Jack’s services.

What begins as a promising business venture soon takes a dangerous turn as Jack is hijacked and learns that he and his family are being held hostage by a gang of thugs lead by the charismatic and dangerous Bill Cox (Paul Bettany), who wires Jack for sight and sound so they can monitor his every move at work. Jack is told that should he deviate from instructions or attempt to alert others to his situation, his family will be killed for his defiance.

In time, Jack is instructed to withdraw $10,000 from several of the banks top accounts and erase any history of the transactions or the resulting deposits in offshore accounts. The plan hits an unexpected snag when as a result of the pending merger, the hardware needed for Jack to input his requests has been moved to a remote locale out of state.

Undaunted Bill ups the stakes and forces Jack to find a way to get the money to him before time is up and his family is killed. Things go from bad to worse when complications arise forcing Jack to take desperate measures that soon has him fighting both his captors, his co-workers, and the law as he attempts to free his family and save them from their captors.

Firewall like last years Hostage suffers from a severe lack of urgency. We are told and shown just how evil the captors are yet, when people are told not do certain things and they continue to do so without repercussions, one would have to think that they would eventually cut their losses and start killing people off.

Ford does his best to make the by-the-numbers story work, but there are just not enough thrills and tension in the film to make it gripping. There is a heavy sense of “been there, seen that” to almost every portion of the film. What could have been a tight thriller is lost in clichés and gaps in logic that undermine the supposed seriousness of the situation.

2.5 stars out of 5


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