Firewall (12A)

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The Independent Culture

For most of its running time, Firewall is no more than a second-rate thriller. Harrison Ford, despite looking like a plain-clothes cop with a week to go before retirement, plays a computer genius who oversees security for a chain of banks. Paul Bettany, whose character might as well have been called Haughty English Villain, breaks into Ford's lakeside mansion and kidnaps his wife and kids. If Ford doesn't help him steal $100m, Bettany will kill the hostages. Well, maybe. In one scene, Bettany demonstrates how evil he is by shooting one of his own men, while leaving his captives unharmed; so it's conceivable that if Ford doesn't help him he'll slam his own fingers in a drawer.

There's so little urgency that the action dawdles over several days, but it's serviceable, Saturday night stuff until the final act, and that's where Firewall really distinguishes itself as a flapping, gobbling, wattle-shaking turkey. Ford's sidekick pops into a Christian rock concert to borrow a mobile phone, the kidnappers drive away with the family dog, and an abandoned house comes fully equipped with pickaxes and planks of wood, just in case anyone's planning to have a climactic punch-up there. Fantastic.

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