Wednesday, 23 September 2020
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Saturday, 11 February 2006 20:02

Here’s the setup: Wealthy Man has happy family; happy family is kidnapped; Man cooperates; Man says “Hell with this” and goes after bad guys. I have Action Thriller Déja Vue. Is it just me or does this sound exactly like the Mel Gibson movie Ranson? Sub-in Harrison Ford and some computer technology and you have Firewall.

Harrison Ford is Jack Stanfield (sounds about right), a straight-laced businessman who works at (you guessed it) a bank. Turns out he is a technical whiz in charge of online security, creating firewalls and anti-virus programs. Over drinks Jack is introduced to tall, fair and British Bill Cox (Paul Bettany), a client who turns out to be a criminal mastermind. Well of course he is; after all, he’s British.

Jack’s family has been taken hostage and in order to get them back he has to hack into his own system and collect 100-million client dollars. Bill and his team have thought of everything from surveillance to Swanson TV dinners. But Jack has his morals. He is doubtful that anyone is going to live through this anyway, so why not take a few risks? He decides to thwart the bad guys by turning the tables on their little scheme. Lucky for him he is a lot spryer than 64 year-old Ford’s body lets on.

This is not a bad movie, just a predictable one. Some cool scenes are a lot of fun to watch no matter how unlikely they are. In one Mrs. Stanfield (Virginia Madsen) stages a daring escape, trying to lead her children to freedom. She is a smart lady who keeps her head although she is terrified for her family. It’s also fun to watch Harrison Ford and Paul Bettany in an all-out, board-breaking, drop-kicking brawl! Bettany is about twice the height and half the age of Ford, but somehow it works.

There are setups you can see coming a mile away. This serves two purposes; it makes the story easier to tell, and makes the audience feel smarter. You never have a kid with severe allergies unless you’re going to make use of him. (Example: Panic Room). Nor do dogs don’t exist in movies unless they fill a need. For all us Mac people out there, an iPod is put to good use. Nifty gadgets can do anything if they are customized properly.

If you want to see Firewall go ahead and see it. You’ll probably have fun, and you won’t be disappointed because it is exactly what you are expecting. An added bonus is that all of the actors in it are quite good.

If you’ve seen the preview I haven’t told you anything you didn’t already know. You’ve basically already seen the film anyway, so why not pay $10 to find out how it ends?

I give Firewall 6 out of 10 stars.