Firewall

 
Directed by: Richard Loncraine
Written by:Joe Forte
Starring: Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany, Virginia Madsen, Robert Patrick, Robert Forster
Released: March 2, 2006
Grade: C

Firewall is like non-fat yoghurt.  Anything which might make it enjoyable has been removed.  If it didn’t star Harrison Ford, you’d be sure it was a B-grade “direct to video” release.

Films about cyber-crime are hard to make attractive.  Take Swordfish as example.  Not even Halle’s “berries” could save it from a critical savaging.  The central character is Firewall is Jack Stanfield (Ford), an IT security guru at a large bank.  To introduce him, we see Jack help a colleague stop an online hacker from cracking into their bank accounts.  He uses cool techno jargon which leads us to believe that he’s one experienced guy.  Don’t ask me what it all means.

The thrills soon begin when Jack and his family are taken hostage in their own home.  The ringleader of the operation is Bill Cox (Bettany) and he has a very specific plan for Jack.  If he wants to see his family live, Jack must crack into his accounts of his bank’s largest clients and transfer a total of $100m to Bill’s secret off-shore bank account.

Jack doesn’t want to co-operate and he tries to pull a few tricks from his sleeve.  None of them work and if you ask me, they don’t make much sense.  He’s putting his own family at extreme risk and I’m surprised he’d take so many chances.  Why not let them steal the money, lodge an insurance claim and then let the authorities search for them?  Perhaps he thinks he’ll be killed regardless of what he does but I still think his actions contradict the kind of man he is.

There’s a scene late in the film where Jack loses his family and then thinks of a “creative” way of locating them.  I won’t give it away but so moronic was this moment, the audience in my cinema were both laughing and murmuring.  I kept my mouth shut and simply rolled my eyes.  It got no better after that.

Harrison Ford is showing his age and his tired, monotonous voice reminded me of his disappointing appearance in Hollywood Homicide (with Josh Hartnett).  Statisticians consider him the most successful actor of all time (based on box-office).  You’d think that with such a reputation, he (or his agent) could find better scripts.  I guess not.