Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary By Florent Siri. Behind
the scenes. Deleted and extended scenes.
HOSTAGE has all the ingredients of a classic Bruce Willis action
thriller in that it pits one man against the odds, forces him
to strip down to his underwear on one occasion and even lets him
run around with a gun.
Unlike the Die Hard series, however, the film also aspires to
be a serious psychological drama, which it has difficulty balancing
with some of the action footage.
Willis stars as former LAPD hostage negotiator, Jeff Talley,
who takes a low-profile job as chief of police in the low-crime
town of Bristo Camino following a disastrous negotiation that
resulted in the deaths of a young mother and her child.
Talley is called back into action, however, when three delinquent
teenagers follow a rich family home, intending to take their car,
only to find themselves trapped in the multi-million dollar compound
of Kevin Pollack's corrupt accountant.
The trio in question is comprised of two brothers and one complete
psychopath who quickly makes matters far worse by shooting and
killing one of Talley's cops.
But to complicate things still further, the accountant they have
taken hostage (with his two children) works for some particularly
unsavoury businessmen who will stop at nothing to ensure their
investment is not harmed.
The ensuing battle of wits finds
Willis caught in the middle of an increasingly desperate situation,
while struggling to confront his own demons about the guilt he
still feels for the last botched hostage situation.
Directed by Florent Siri, Hostage begins strongly but has trouble
maintaining the quality of its early promise.
The film unfolds at a breakneck pace, piling on the tension with
each new twist and even tossing in the odd scare to keep audiences
on the edge of their seats.
But as events begin to spiral out of Talley's control, so too
do they get away from Siri, who cannot resist the urge to splash
out on an overblown finale (or make the most of his star's action-based
Hence, the latter part of the movie descends into an unlikely
shoot-em-up, with Siri calling on slow-motion techniques to showcase
the designer violence and throwing logic out of the window.
As a result, the nasty air of menace that exists throughout the
majority of proceedings is undone by the in-your-face brutality
of the finale, which finds Willis reverting to blood-splattered,
gun-totting, family-man hero.
That said, the film works in spite of its flaws thanks to the
dedicated performances of just about everyone involved and the
clever way in which it manipulates the audience during the early
It might not rate as overly memorable but viewers shouldn't mind
being taken hostage themselves for a couple of hours.