Thursday Night Movie Club
star rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: February 10, 2006
Director: Richard Loncraine
Harrison Ford
Paul Bettany
Virginia Madsen
Mary Lynn Rajskub
Robert Patrick
Robert Forster
Alan Arkin
Carly Schroeder
Jimmy Bennett
Matthew Currie Holmes
Candus Churchill
David Lewis
Zahf Paroo
Eric Keenleyside
Ona Grauer
Jack Stanfield
Bill Cox
Beth Stanfield
Janet Stone
Gary Mitchell
Henry Romano
Arlin Forrester
Sarah Stanfield
Andy Stanfield
Alan Hughes
Firewall poster.
Paul Bettany and Harrison Ford  in Firewall.Firewall is not a great action movie. It is a rather standard thriller, but it does have its moments. It also has its bad moments. In order to have a climactic conclusion, Jack Stanfield ignores the obvious and the fight is on!

Jack Stanfield has been the head of security at his bank for 20 years. The bank is about to merge with a larger bank chain and Jack is a little Jittery about turning over the reins. He isn't out of a job, but he won't be the head man.

Jack and a good friend of his, Henry Romano, meet a stanger, Bill Cox, over cocktails to discuss starting a new company. Concurrently, things are not so idealic in Jack's home. A small band of thugs has broken in and taken the family prisoners. Alarm bells ring for Jack when Cox promptly plants himself in the back seat of his car for the drive home. Something has gone terribly wrong with his relationship with Cox.

Jack comes home to find his house rewired. To save his family, Jack will have to bypass his new company's firewall to steal $10 million from his bank's largest customers. Jack is wired for picture and sound when he at the office so Cox and his thugs can insure that Jack is not trying to contact the police. Jack finally figures out a solution and the caper is on. Jack drives home after the robbery to find an empty house. The plan has changed and so Jack makes a desperate attempt to even the odds with Cox. He promptly hacks into Cox's account and steals his money.

Paul Bettany and Harrison Ford in Firewall.Firewall has an intruguing premise but this is nothing but a standard action movie. There are some creepy moments involving the terrorized family but the suspense is not maintained. The ending is standard action fare and the brilliant Jack goes a bit brain-dead here. Having located his family through a radio GPS dog collar, Jack could easily call the police and surrender. Instead, he decides to take on the gang single-handedly. Of course, this ending is not action-packed enough for today's thrillers.

Even Cox gets a bit stupid at the end. Instead of meeting Jack to trade the family for his money, he hides out in a diserted cabin. I presume the idea is to leave no witnesses. Except that now Cox is in a bind with no way out but comply. What his reasons are for continuing on his original plan will remain a mystery. The screen writers must not have thought this through or they took the easy way out to add explosions.

Harrsion Ford still has the ability to show a wounded, on-edge Jack. He is caught between a boulder and a mountain with no way out. Some suspense is developed as a frustrated Jack has no idea how to bypass the bank's security system in order to save his family. Virginia Madsen has decided to try to make a bundle of money by being in this big-budget thriller. She really has nothing much to do but look scared. The children, Carly Schroeder and Jimmy Bennett don't have much to do either.

Carly Schroeder, Virginia Madsen and Harrison Ford in FirewallThe real treat is Paul Bettany as the villainous Cox. Bettany is quite good being both smooth and cruel. He'll sacrifice his own men when they make mistakes. Twice Cox threatens son Andy, once by threatening his legs and another by feeding him peanuts which cause an allergic reaction. Jack warns Andy not to trust these men and never to accept anything from them. Of course, there wouldn't be suspense if Andy obeyed his Dad. Cox will do whatever it takes to get Jack's compliance. He succeeds until Jack gets the upper hand.

Bettany is the only real reason to go out and see Firewall. The film is standard and enjoyable but not very memorable, exciting or very suspenseful. It does have its moments but they are too few. For action afficionados, Firewall is worth a bargain, matinee price.