Not even Indiana Jones could save "Firewall"

by JD Warnock on February 10, 2006

in Print Reviews

All right, let’s get this out of the way first. For all of you technically aware, would-be-hackers out there chomping at the bit to debunk the plausibility of the computer world premise behind “Firewall”… don’t bother. Anyone with a DSL connection and the ability to use the term USB in a sentence can, in fact, see the glaring inaccuracies abundantly scattered all over this movie. So, simmer down you code-saavy bunch. “Firewall’s” technical glitches are just the beginning of a long list of complaints about the new Harrison Ford thriller.

“Firewall” is remarkably unoriginal. Films like “Die Hard” and even Ron Howard’s so-so “Ransom” managed to create tension and entertain us with simple stories of captives and the bad guys that snatched them. It borrows heavily from plot devices used in both of those films, but tragically doesn’t have many tricks of it’s own. Written by Joe Forte, “Firewall” feels like a story line cobbled together from a dozen writers, all with different and ultimately incompatible ideas, forced together to form one abysmal script. Every time the story could get interesting it runs for safety. What we are left with could be great as a one-hour “CSI” or “Without a Trace,” assuming of course it would receive a treatment from the writers of those excellent shows. It’s harder and harder for Hollywood to churn out uninspired intrigue movies undetected, when television crime drama in a post-”Law and Order” world has gotten so damn good. 

SPOILER AHOY!!! So here it is…a guy designs bank security systems, some bad people abduct his family and force him to steal money for them, he plays along until he doesn’t, they fight in an old house in the middle of nowhere, there’s a pick ax and a shaky camera…the end. Sorry to lay it out like that, but sometimes you need friends to tell you the truth. “Firewall” stars Harrison Ford as a computer security expert for a bank, Virginia Madsen as his wife and up-and-comer Paul Bettany as the guy with an accent, oops I mean villain. Harrison Ford can still carry a picture better than most, even ones that he has to carry on his 65-year-old shoulders, but with all his clout it would be nice if he held out for better stuff. “Firewall” re-teams director Richard Loncraine with Bettany, who starred in last year’s surprising romantic comedy “Wimbledon.” Unfortunately, they didn’t fare so well the second time out. At least “Wimbledon” had heart and character where “Firewall” has Ford and a bushel full of anemic twists and turns.

No really, most bank guys are extra good with guns.

“Firewall” attempts to prey on commonplace American fears like identity theft and home invasion. While these may be hot button issues and perfect fodder for an “of the times” thriller, “Firewall” just doesn’t have the goods. If you “love Harrison Ford so much” you can’t stand it, you might find enough here to make it worth your evening away from the tube. But hey, if it’s Thursday, why not save some cash and watch “CSI” from the security of you own home? That way you can avoid witnessing the throngs of computer geeks and movie lovers squirming in their seats.

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