Movie Review: ‘Firewall,’ Ford fail to fulfill expectations

Movie Review: ‘Firewall,’ Ford fail to fulfill expectations

Harrison Ford has played some of the most iconic Hollywood characters of our generation.

From a buck-wild adventurer to the president of the United States, Ford effortlessly captured the Everyman, the good guy and the hero fighting for justice using strength, cunning and humble grace.

It’s this reputation that makes his latest film, “Firewall,” that much more of a disappointment.

In the movie, Ford tackles another protagonist role, this time as Jack Stanfield, a Seattle bank securities specialist with a wife and two kids in tow who has to make a compromising decision.

The film tries to be a thought-provoking thriller about identity theft, but comes off as contrived and predictable.

In the film, Landrock Pacific Bank is in the process of converting its banking to an online system to prevent fraud loss for its clients. As the premiere securities specialist, Jack is hesitant to jump aboard, even walking out of a board meeting to show his disapproval.

The action gets kick-started with what appears to be a typical evening at home. His wife Beth (Virginia Madsen), an architect, is working at her desk while the two kids argue over the sound of the television.

As soon as the doorbell rings and Beth says, “The pizza’s here,” the audience knows what’s coming.

The daughter opens the door, and the thugs burst inside.

A struggle ensues, and Jack’s wife and kids are pinned to the floor, screaming for help.

Meanwhile, Jack is meeting with Bill Cox (Paul Bettany), a businessman trying to convince him of the benefits of online banking.

The audience quickly learns the burglary and Bill are connected.

Bill wants Jack to hack into his own security system and embezzle $100 million from Landrock Pacific, incriminating himself in the process.

If any of the plot points are surprising to audience members, they may be seeing their first movie.

The film continues in its typical, lathargic pace as the burglars install video cameras in the Stanfield’s home and place his wife and children under lockdown.

Jack is ordered to go to work the next day and pretend nothing happened. They place a wire on him to ensure he doesn’t talk to anybody; keep in mind, his family is still held hostage back home.

Bill tells Jack, “If you don’t do exactly as I ask, I’ll kill your wife and your two children.” All right, we get it already.

Jack is our Everyman, not someone you’d expect to raise a fist or even his voice. But when provoked, a man is supposed to do anything to save the people he cares about and this is what Jack hopes to accomplish.

Perhaps the one admirable thing about watching Ford is that, at 63, he’s still in fighting form (he said he does most of his own stunts).

The violent fight scenes between Ford and Bettany add a much-needed shot of adrenaline to this snoozefest. It’s a welcome sight to see Ford throwing his attackers off porches and impaling them with an icepick. Yet, that moment of real drama is fleeting.

As the body count and the senseless violence increases, so does the absurdity of the plot.

Never have so many good actors stalled their careers at once. Gone is the raw intensity that made Ford famous – he’s sleepwalking here.

But the other actors fare no better. Madsen, who earned critical acclaim and an Oscar nod for her role in 2004’s “Sideways,” is reduced to playing “the wife.” Bettany (“A Beautiful Mind”) is forgettable as the villain, and succeeds only in reaching a stereotypical-level.

While held hostage in the house, Beth tries to calm her frightened children down by softly whispering, “It’ll all be over soon.”

Unfortunately, the audience is hoping the same thing.

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