Anthony's Film Review

Firewall (2006)

This suspense thriller is weak overall and barely captures the audience's interest...

There are times when a movie might not seem to be good because the first several minutes are slow, boring, and unexciting. There's still a chance for success if it really picks up after the beginning, and from there, I could better judge the movie as a whole. Now, what would happen if this slow pacing were to go longer that just a couple of minutes? Could the movie still have a chance of being entertaining and worthy of recommendation if it were to go for, let's say, at least half an hour? For me, the answer is pretty much no.

Firewall, a 2006 suspense thriller about an information technology expert at a bank who is forced to hack into it, suffers because of this. But it's worse than you think. Imagine a movie with a running time of 1 hour and 40 minutes that only gets good, in a standard cardboard thriller kind of way, in the last 30 minutes. A movie like this, with boredom in two thirds of it, is one that deserves to be skipped.

Let me first provide a plot synopsis. The story centers on Harrison Ford as Jack Stanfield the IT expert as he goes to work at the bank. Later that night, he finds out that his family, including Virginia Madsen as his wife and two kids, is being held ransom by Paul Bettany as criminal mastermind Bill Cox. The criminal gang set up cameras and other equipment to watch over Jack's family at home and over Jack as he goes to work with instructions on how to carry out Cox's plot to steal $100 million from the bank.

So let me list the problems with Firewall. The actual first step of the robbery doesn't begin until about the 30- to 40-minute mark. The henchmen working with Cox barely seem menacing and actually look more like inconvenient house guests who won't leave the family alone. The Harrison Ford character seems a little too passive and seldom makes clever attempts to escape, including the first attempt involving a female coworker that you just know won't work. And the performances, even those by Ford and Bettany, seem bland.

The only good thing about the movie is the climax. It's not the kind that I would see in really great action thrillers, but it's certainly better than what I've just described. Even then, it doesn't save the movie. If the first hour of Firewall were to be as interesting as the climax, then I could at least give it a marginally positive recommendation. As it stands, my rating for the movie is closer to the lower end. Simply put, Firewall barely has a spark and easily crumbles to pieces.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Firewall, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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