Directed by: Richard Loncraine
Starring: Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany, Virginia Madsen, Robert Forster, Mary Lynn Rajskub
If this movie does nothing else, it should settle the question of whether Harrison Ford ought to do a fourth and final Indiana Jones picture. The answer is no. The prospect of seeing Ford at this stage of his life as an all-out action hero is not a pleasing one, since his -- blessedly limited -- feats of derring-do in Firewall are remarkably unpersuasive.
Granted, the film itself is nothing if not unpersuasive. I cannot remember when I've been this incredibly bored by a movie. Put it this way: I had the devil of a time staying awake -- and I saw a matinee.
The plot is rubbish. Ford plays Jack Stanfield, a computer whiz who is the security expert at a Seattle bank. Jack's family gets taken hostage by arch-criminal Bill Cox (Paul Bettany), and unless Jack acquiesces to Cox's desire to have him empty millions of dollars into Cox's Cayman Island bank accounts, the wife and kids are all for the chop. In other words, it's kind of like a hi-tech version of The Desperate Hours with a decidedly low-tech mentality.
Little of it makes a whole lot of sense. Its surprises aren't in the least surprising. People who turn out not to be the least bit sinister and mysterious -- Jack's secretary (Mary Lynn Rajskub, Mysterious Skin), for a non-spoiler example -- do nothing but run around looking shifty and duplicitous. The bad guy (who has an English accent, of course) is so very bad that he offs a subordinate who fails him. This is supposed to be shocking, I think. It isn't, and it hasn't been in 20-plus years.
The screenplay by newcomer Joe Forte steals with wild abandon from everything imaginable -- even the ridiculous dog with the GPS collar device is just a teched-out version of the police car with the radio stuck in transmission mode from a 1946 cheapie called Valley of the Zombies (which was a lot more entertaining).
Most of the film's technology is of the convenient and suspect variety, while the plot itself is riddled with embellishments that serve little function other than to turn 30 minutes worth of story into 105 dull minutes of screen time. Improbability to one side, there's just nothing here you haven't seen done before and done better -- probably as a TV Movie of the Week. Rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence.
-- reviewed by Ken Hanke