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Overall Rating

Awesome: 1.25%
Worth A Look: 12.5%
Average: 16.25%
Pretty Bad: 31.25%
Total Crap38.75%

9 reviews, 26 user ratings

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by Lybarger

"'Firewall' crashes and burns."
1 stars

Normally I avoid commenting on how an audience reacts to a film I’m covering. My reaction must be mine and mine alone. Still, it’s hard to recall a movie I’ve seen where all of its viewers, from snobs to casual fans were united in a loud chorus of unintended laughter.

Despite being directed by veteran British helmer Richard Loncraine and having an A-list cast, “Firewall” can’t seem to manage a single thrill throughout its 105-minute running time. Thanks to an earnest performance by Harrison Ford, “Firewall” comes off as even more silly than it might on paper.

Listening to him yell, “You’ll get the money, when I get my family” yields more chuckles than the entire running time of Ford’s intentional comedy “Six Days Seven Nights.”

The derivative plot concerns a nervous computer security expert named Jack Stanfield (Ford) who is really nervous about an upcoming merger between his bank and a Wichita-based megabank. It seems the Kansans (led by “Terminator 2” villain Robert Patrick) think Jack’s attention to detail is unnecessary.

Show me a banker who isn’t worried about hackers, and I’ll show you his spot in the unemployment line.

It turns out that Jack has even more stress factors than he could have imagined. A collection agency is after him for massive gambling debts an identity thief has accrued in his name. Worse a fellow named Bill Cox (Paul Bettany, who starred in Loncraine’s “Wimbledon”) who seems to be offering Jack a new gig has other plans in mind.

From the moment that Bettany’s British accent mysteriously returns, we know there’s trouble afoot. It seems that Bill has kidnapped Bill’s entire family, even the dog. If Jack doesn’t help Bill rob the bank, Bill and his high-tech henchmen will kill all of them.

It’s not the most original setup, but rookie screenwriter Joe Forte has not milked it for its potential. One problem is that for all the expertise and homework that Bettany and his crew supposedly have, they’re really stupid.

If you can overtake the PC of a bank’s security czar, why do you even need him? No right-minded thief would waste his or her time on Jack and risk the human factor getting in the way of the loot.

Forte and Loncraine also throw in a bunch of clichés that prevent chills from ever starting. If your watch stops during the movie, just wait for the requisite explosion so that you can reset it. It’s a more reliable way of telling the time than any atomic clock.

It’s worth noting that there was a woman sitting next to me who kept telling her husband all the plot twists before they happened. This sort of behavior is usually annoying, but in this case witnessing her startling accuracy was more fun than viewing the movie itself.

While Ford does indeed look better in his mid 60s than I do pushing 40, it’s hard to believe that his spouse would be the 20-years younger Virginia Madsen or that his offspring would be young enough to be his grandchildren.

Playing up Ford’s age instead of hiding it might have made for a better movie. If Jack knows he’s only got a few more years left, why not have him become more suicidal in his resistance to Bill? Imagine having a hero not only weighing what’s right and wrong but is also deciding if his current crisis could be his defining moment. It could really give “Firewall” a tension it doesn’t have now.

Furthermore, why not make Jack a little more tainted? Why not show his family life suffering from his mania for security? It’s unlikely that somebody as a vigilant as Jack would be the victim of identity theft, so it could have been more credible to have Jack fight both Bill’s crew and an addiction. It’s better than anything that appears on screen.

The more you know about computers will find “Firewall” even more ludicrous than the rest of us. There were some fellows who normally work with servers during their day jobs at the screening, and all were picking it apart after it was over.

Even technical novices will find much derisive glee from the film. According to Forte, all you need to swipe millions from a bank is an iPod and a fax machine. It seems silly to spend hard earned money to catch this in a theater, when you can catch a “McGyver” rerun on TV for free.

The real shame of Firewall, in addition to wasting the time of Harrison Ford, is that Loncraine once directed a film version of Shakepeare’s classic “Richard III,” that played like a nail-biting contemporary thriller. With “Firewall,” he makes a contemporary thriller that has all the vitality of a worm-eaten corpse.

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originally posted: 02/13/06 07:06:09
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User Comments

7/15/09 R.W. Welch Formulaic hostage flick has little spark. A skipper. 2 stars
8/12/08 Shaun Wallner Loved it Harrison Ford is great! 5 stars
6/03/08 mike somewhat interesting. I felt like I've seen too many movies like this though 3 stars
5/04/08 Jack Sommersby Ridiculous, lame, and boring to boot, this so-called thriller is a D.O.A. 2 stars
4/30/08 mr.mike Far-fetched , but scores with tense atmosphere and action 4 stars
10/07/07 Meggo This was complete crap. Horrible. Doesn't deserve 1 star. 1 stars
8/21/07 Matt An old story dressed up in 21st century technology, but it's worth half a look. 3 stars
6/09/07 Steve Newman It was OK - Ford looks a very old man now, retire the poor bastard 3 stars
12/05/06 gRant KadE the movie was nice...more on prvacy event, their lots of new gadgets like GPS .. 3 stars
10/02/06 Chris Simpson Dire. A very bad rental. Clapped out Harrison does the haggard, care-worn good guy routine. 1 stars
9/19/06 Aldo Its not orginal but i found it Highly entertaining 4 stars
9/17/06 hector its worth a look not so bad as everybody rated it , its good 4 stars
7/31/06 CarolJude Haven't I seen this one before about 10 times? 2 stars
7/31/06 JeromeBosch WOW! Harrison Ford playing Harrison Ford! Unreal!!! 1 stars
6/09/06 Shukara Griffin I feel like they were trying to push a bit much.This is the same style of film . 3 stars
6/05/06 Jeff Anderson Weak & extremely witless(even for the commanding Ford). A sad waste of Madsen's talents! 1 stars
6/03/06 Rowsdower I yawned thirty seven times during this garbage. 1 stars
4/01/06 tc Not about firewalls, not a computer thriller, just a cliched kidnap movie 3 stars
3/11/06 Josh Standlee Fuck this!!! Bill Cox is the worst villain EVER! Fuck!!! 1 stars
3/02/06 Adam Even though I knew that this is going to be a boring shit, I stil went to see Mr. Ford. 1 stars
2/15/06 Mike V I'm pretty sure Harrison Fors has made this movie 3 or four times. 2 stars
2/14/06 Corinne I actually enjoyed this movie. It wasn't oscar-worthy, but it wasn't crap either. :) 3 stars
2/14/06 Ole Man Bourbon Another tedious, tiresome hostage movie. Ford needs something better to do. 2 stars
2/12/06 Fran Totally agree with Scott 2 stars
2/12/06 Perry Mason Much better than I thought it would be. Harrison still kicks ass. 4 stars
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  10-Feb-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 06-Jun-2006



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