Director: Richard Loncraine
Starring: Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany, Jimmy
RunTime: 1 hr 45 mins
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Day: 13 April 2006
With his family held for ransom, the head security executive
for a global bank is commanded to loot his own business for
millions in order to ensure his wife and children’s
safety. He then faces the demanding task of thwarting the
kidnapper’s grand scheme, which makes him look guilty
many times have we seen the scenario where “a man is
being forced to carry out the demands of his family’s
kidnappers”? Recently there was Bruce Willis’s
“Hostage” and even Harrison Ford had one in Air
Force One. Given the formulaic scenario, the outcome will
be as expected, equally predictable.
The only difference and probably the only reason to watch
this is to see if it actually captivates you? Given that this
movie utilizes the bank heist through computer security angles
in the formulaic scenario, the movie could enthrall us in
“the intricate planning of the villains” or “hero’s
resourcefulness and bravery ”.
Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford) is a bank’s security
executive who has helped to create a firewall protection that
virtually fends off all possible hackers and robbers from
stealing money from the bank through cyberspace. In order
to get through the bank’s firewall, the crooks storm
into Jack Stanfield’s home, hold his family hostage
and forced him to help them get beyond the firewall to steal
$100 million dollars.
From the opening credits, viewers were shown how the crooks
studied the Stanfield’s family by surveillance and even
going through their rubbish, you would think that these crooks
did their homework. However the biggest screwed up from the
crooks was revealed pretty early during Jack’s first
attempt to help the crooks rob the bank. Viewers will realize
that this bunch of “computer savvy” villains haven’t
actually done their homework well enough after all and at
that moment, you can throw their intricate planning out of
Moreover the crooks were far too lenient and kindhearted compared
to the other villains from the same genre of films. For example,
after taking Jack Stanfield’s family hostage, the villains
choose to release Stanfield’s family back to their rooms,
instead of tying them up and holding them at one common area.
One might argue that this is a chance for the filmmakers to
showcase the villains’ computer know-how and surveillance
capabilities but that really throw the logic out of the window,
making the crooks look more like they are imposing on the
victims family rather than imprisoning them.
What’s worse is when Jack didn’t follow the rules
set by Bill Cox (Paul Bettany), the leader chose to punish
his henchman for failing to keep tabs on Jack instead of any
Jack’s family members. Right at that moment, you can
safely establish that harm will probably come to the crooks’
way than the victims’.
So there we have it, the villains might look menacing but
there’s no bite in their bark. The uncharacteristic
villainy aside, Bill Cox’s entire plan for the robbery
and Jack Stanfield himself were not without any merits. He
does have a trick or two up his sleeves, especially how he
frames Jack Stanfield but by then it’s too late to impress.
How does our hero fare in this? Our hero, the ageing Hollywood
top tier actor, Harrison Ford would most likely be the very
reason to catch this movie. It’s almost like putting
on the gloves that he wore once too often and had no problem
in portraying the man with the burden of rescuing his family.
But then there lies a problem too as viewers have seen him
in movies with similar situation and pretty soon, one might
wonder haven’t I seen this somewhere else before? With
the weak-set up for the villains’ characters, the heroic
deeds weren’t as exemplified as it had the potential
with Harrison Ford.
Firewall would probably be more entertaining if one does not
analyze too much into the characters motivation and methods
used. Just go with the flow of the movie and you won’t
encounter so many plot holes or have much difficulty in enjoying
this film as this reviewer did.
failed to protect the viewers’ interest)
by Richard Lim Jr