Publicity Stills of "Hostage"
(Courtesy from Shaw)

Genre: Thriller/Action/Crime
Director: Florent Siri
Starring: Bruce Willis, Kevin Pollak, Ben Foster, Jonathan Tucker, Marshall Allman,
Michelle Horn, Jimmy Bennett, Tina Lifford, Kim Coates, Serena Scott Thomas and Rob Knepper
RunTime: 1 hr 53 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: NC-16 (Violence)

Release Date: 17 March 2005

Synopsis :

Devastated by a hostage situation that resulted in the deaths of a young mother and her child, LAPD negotiator Jeff Talley (Bruce Willis) exits Los Angeles for a low-profile job as chief of police in the low-crime town of Bristo Camino in Ventura County.

When three delinquent teenagers follow a family home intending to steal their car, they inadvertently pick the wrong house on the wrong day. The trio find themselves trapped in a multimillion dollar compound on the outskirts of town owned by a corrupt accountant. Panicked, the teenagers take the family hostage, placing Talley in exactly the kind of situation he never wanted to face again.

Soon after, Talley readily hands authority of the hostage situation over to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department and leaves the scene. But inside the compound is digital information critical to the mysterious criminals and their operation. They will stop at nothing to get what belongs to them, including taking Talley’s family hostage, forcing him to resume the command he had abandoned. The stakes quickly evolve into a situation far more volatile and terrifying than anything he could ever imagine.

Movie Review:

If you’re expecting shouts of “Yippee-kai-yay,” this is not the film. If you’re expecting John McClane, then I’m sorry for this is a far cry from that. But if you’re expecting bullets galore and loud decibels to whet your appetite for the lack of action films while bursting your ears at the same time, then you’ve chosen the right film.

The plot centres on Detective Jeff Talley (Bruce Willis), a former hostage negotiator, who gets stuck in the middle of a hostage situation within a hostage situation. When a “smart” house owned by Walter Smith (Kevin Pollak) gets intruded by three delinquent juveniles (Ben Foster, Jonathan Tucker, Marshall Allman), things get out of control, and they take Smith and his children hostage. The second hostage situation arises when an unknown source wants his DVD retrieved from the house unscathed, taking Talley’s family hostage instead, forcing the scarred Tally to save the Smith family, retrieve the DVD and in turn, saving his own family.

If you entered the theatre without knowing what film you’re watching, it would be no surprise if you’d thought it was Sin City. But no, that’s Bruce Willis’ next vehicle. The introduction has a very Sin City, Ocean’s Twelve and Metal Gear Solid-ish feel to it. It might have been the colours and the video-game likeness it had that it felt like you were given free reign of the analog control on the Playstation. However, this was no surprise, when a quick check prompted that the director, Florent Siri had previously directed two Splinter Cell videogames. Siri does fairly well in his virgin English language film, directing from a script by Doug Richardson who is also the scribe for the upcoming Die Hard 4. At this point, seriously, why could he not write Hostage as Die Hard 4 instead? Bahhhhh…

Detective Jeff Talley is by no means John McClane. If McClane was the obnoxious, gun-wielding m**********r, then Talley’s the torn, scarred family man. What the audience will be treated to is a more subdued performance by Bruce Willis that it reminded me of his character from Unbreakable. Nonetheless, his performance in Hostage is applaudable though it’s far from his best work. As Talley, Willis has to play a man with demons of the past haunting him and at the same time, the family man who has little time for them. He got himself into a picky spot trying to play Talley, but he got himself out of there.

The supporting cast rounded off the film quite nicely as they fitted into the pieces of the puzzle. But, it felt as if most of them were mainly just there as collateral damage. Ben Foster who played Mars, has to be singled out for he stood out like a sore thumb in his scenes. At times, he looked like a cross between The Crow and a teenager headed towards the brink of dementia. Not as freaky as Hannibal Lecter but about as freaky as a paparazzi reporter.

Hostage starts off on a right note, capturing the audience and throwing them right smack into a tense hostage situation. But I must admit that it almost lost me after three-quarters of the film as it becomes a gamer’s haven. I felt appalled that an ingenious script was turned into an out-of-control, shooting frenzy that almost spiraled into a “Game Over” situation. In the finale, Siri let loose of his reigns on the film and allowed himself to be taken hostage by his love for videogames. Except for the disappointing finale, the film is a worthy ride if you’re into the action genre. It holds you captive so closely that it almost feels claustrophobic.

Movie Rating: B+

Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri

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