Movie Review: Firewall
January 07, 2008

Harrison Ford may be getting old, but he can still rumble his way through an action movie with the best of them. If you believe that sentence for even a second--and yes, I was being serious--then "Firewall" might be your sort of movie. Then again, it might not. It's really an odd film.

Basically, the idea is that Harrison Ford (er, that is.. Jack Stanfield) has been working in the security department at a series of Washington banks for a long time. Long enough, in fact, that he designed the security system. Now, the bank he works for has become successful enough that a larger bank is wanting to buy it out. Jack (Stanfield, not Ryan) is resistant to that, and on the side he and a friend are meeting with a gentleman who is willing to offer them a different job where they'd punch their own time cards. It sounds interesting, and Jack walks away from the meeting thinking maybe he'll go for it. Then his life falls apart.

The main thrust of the movie is that Jack is suddenly forced to protect his family as a nasty group of bank robbers (but oh, so very polite) try to force him into robbing the bank for them. Jack tries to resist at first--with poor results--and things just go from tense to... more tense... as the movie winds its way through nearly two hours of twists.

Though he has an excellent taste in movies to which he will lend his talents, Harrison Ford isn't a particularly good actor. He can be either intense or he can look like he's about to fall asleep, with not much in between. Fortunately, there are plenty of scenes that call for the former and he's able to deliver with a lot more energy than you'd perhaps expect from an actor his age. Paul Bettany also does a commendable job as the psycho leader of the group of thieves. He seems calm and urbane, but that only masks his more violent nature underneath (cue eerie music).

Of course, this sort of dynamic has been done in a lot of movies before, and it's even a fairly common thing on CBS crime dramas, so what does "Firewall" offer that those programs don't? Well, there's more blood. A bit of profanity, too. And the story, from start to finish, feels more intense and fleshed out. The director also spends his time where it can be most effective, though sometimes he telegraphs plot twists something like a half-hour before they occur. There also were a few places where it felt like little bits could be cut, but never large chunks and overall the movie felt like exactly what it was: the work of skilled professionals going through the motions to deliver a standard story with more than the usual flair.

In the end, "Firewall" isn't the sort of movie I can imagine myself watching ever again, but it was almost two hours of nail-biting cinema. The ending also convinced me that Harrison Ford can still handle the fist fights and heroics required of his Indiana Jones character. That'll undoubtedly be the better film, but if reasonably enjoyable diversions like "Firewall" keep the guy in shape, I'm all for it!

7/10

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Halon Halon - January 07, 2008 (04:34 PM)
Is this the movie when Paul Bettany held his family hostage or something? Think I saw it before but don't remember a thing.
honestgamer honestgamer - January 07, 2008 (06:26 PM)
Yes, that's the one.
Suskie Suskie - January 07, 2008 (09:48 PM)
I saw it once. Wasn't horrible, but just unbelievably generic.
EmP EmP - January 08, 2008 (06:19 PM)
Bettany stole this film. I especially liked the scene where he tricks the kid eat a cookie so as to flare up his alergic reaction to peanuts and use it as a bargining tool.

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