'Firewall'

DVDs and MoviesCrime, Law and JusticeMoviesCrimeEntertainmentTechnology IndustryHarrison Ford

Given the state of his career over the last decade, it was only a matter of time before Harrison Ford went the aging-actioner route and made a movie about a devoted husband and father who risks everything to save his family.

Never mind that he's played this role before -- in "Air Force One," in "Patriot Games," in "Frantic." Protective, sputtering rage works for him, and he knows how to project the indignant grimace of a man with a gun to his head. Plus, the whole angry-father thing now makes it credible that a man in his 60s would try to charge bad guys half his age.

"Firewall" casts Ford as Jack Stanfield, the mild-mannered VP of security at a Seattle bank, whose ordinary life is suddenly hijacked by a calculating villain with an insidious plan. Of course, Jack is at least as resourceful and clever as his captor, and will stop at nothing to turn the tables on the bad guys and rescue his loved ones.

It's set up all efficiently, with reasonable respect for the audience's presumed intelligence and a stronger-than-usual supporting cast -- Virginia Madsen plays Ford's wife, Robert Forster and Alan Arkin turn up as co-workers, "24's" Mary Lynn Rajskub is his secretary and Paul Bettany turns in an appropriately hissable performance as the obligatory European mastermind -- and a couple of unexpected plot complications.

Things click along fine for an hour or so, and then, unfortunately, director Richard Loncraine lets Joe Forte's script slip off the rails with a series of increasingly ridiculous twists and turns that don't so much strain our goodwill as abandon it completely. Right before our eyes, "Firewall" collapses under a wave of silly, flailing desperation -- not just Ford's performance, but the movie itself.

Warner's enhanced-widescreen DVD isn't exactly big on extras, as one might expect for a project of this nature. There's no audio commentary or making-of material at all, just two post-facto featurettes.

"Firewall Decoded" puts Ford and Loncraine in a studio to discuss the movie for 15 minutes; it's an interesting conversation, but not terribly dynamic, although it's fun to watch Ford get agitated over the difference between "stunts" and "physical acting."

In contrast, "Firewall: Writing a Thriller" offers three excruciating minutes with screenwriter Forte, who shows off his paintings and draws a truly ludicrous 9/11 parallel to his script, equating the hijacking of airplanes to commit mass murder with his script's half-assed appropriation of identity theft.

STUDIO:Warner Home Video
RELEASE DATE:Available now
RATING:PG-13
PRICE: $28.98
TIME: 105 minutes
DVD EXTRAS:French and Spanish audio dubs; English, French and Spanish subtitles; production featurettes.
INTERNET SITE:www.firewallmovie.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Comments
Loading