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Firewall - Review

Paul Bettany and Harrison Ford in Firewall

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

HARRISON Ford delivers a greatest hits compilation of some of his better roles in Firewall, a routine action-thriller that ultimately promises more than it delivers.

Ford plays Jack Stanfield, a happily married computer security specialist employed by a Seattle-based bank to keep out potential hackers.

When his wife, Beth (Virginia Madsen), and children are kidnapped by a slick team of robbers led by Bill Cox (Paul Bettany), Jack is forced to break through his own firewalls to provide access to the bank’s millions and thereby save them.

Directed by Richard Loncraine (of Wimbledon fame), Firewall is a formulaic crowd-pleaser that pushes all the necessary buttons without doing anything different.

It begins brightly enough, drawing on contemporary issues such as identity theft and computer crime, while layering on the tension as Jack begins to figure a way out of his predicament.

But once the ground rules have been set in motion, the film loses its grip somewhat by lacking the menace required to really set pulses racing.

As suave and calculated as Bettany’s villain remains throughout, he simply isn’t sinister enough to remain surprising – thereby blunting the movie’s capacity to shock.

While Ford’s ageing hero seems ill-suited to tackling heavily-armed henchmen, while relying a little too heavily on past movie characterisations.

His Jack Stanfield contains elements of past roles in Patriot Games, Air Force One and The Fugitive, without necessarily providing the roguish appeal of Han or Indy.

By the time proceedings reach their laugh-out-loud conclusion, the film has lost any sense of credibility and seems geared towards pantomime-style crowd cheering.

It’s a shame given that the film also boasts a quality cast that is largely reduced to stereotype – from Robert Patrick’s bland company rival to Madsen’s woman-in-peril mother and wife, right down to Mary (24) Rajskub’s socially-awkward office assistant.

Audiences in search of some run-of-the-mill Friday night fun may be satisfied by what Firewall has to offer, but the majority will probably be hacked off by its frustrating waste of potential.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 104mins