Harrison Ford is back in action here in his usual role of loving father put in a hopeless situation where he has to do something completely illegal in order to keep his family alive. The only thing that matter to him is his wife and kids, and if he doesn’t have a wife, than it’s the kids he cares about.
We have seen this kind of Harrison Ford movie a lot. “Air Force One” comes to mind when discussing this movie because he is out there rescuing his family. He is the everyman who gets wrongfully accused and ends up getting put into a situation where he is all alone in the world and only has himself to prove his innocence. Harrison is not into the independent scene and into original movies. He seems to like giving the audience the movie he feels they want.
On that level, “Firewall” does deliver and provides for an exciting time. It’s not a great film, and it won’t rank among the more exciting and intense movies, but there are worse ways to waste several hours of your life (“Godzilla” anyone?). The fact that it turned out to be a box office dissapointment was surprising considering that Harrison Ford has been one of the biggest draws for years. However, his appeal seems to have diminished some with this movie and also with “Hollywood Homicide” which was a good movie that could have been better. This will probably change considerably when the next Indiana Jones movie FINALLY comes out.
Harrison Ford plays Jack Stanfield who plays a high ranking bank employee who ends up getting kidnapped along with his family by Bill Cox (Paul Bettany) and his nasty ass banditos. Bill wants Jack to go to his bank an unload some very hefty accounts into some cayman accounts (it’s always the Caymans!) for him. Bill has thought all this through, and works hard to cover his tracks at every moment. He already has seen how this will end, and has it all worked out how he will get away with this. Of course, he doesn’t count on Jack coming back at him and taking control of the situation just like Harrison Ford always does.
“Firewall” is pure formula and doesn’t aspire to be any higher than that. People were understandbly hard on this movie because they saw it as by the numbers and that it brought nothing new to the genre. But then again, all you can ask from a movie like this is nothing but a good time, and for me the movie delivered. It kept me interested, and it did not having me looking at my watch the whole time. When I look at my watch, that’s when I know the movie sucks.
A lot of people keep commenting about Harrison Ford now being too old for these kind of movies. That talk really annoys me. Forget that he is 60 something. Bringing that up is just discriminatory and takes away from the movie. Harrison still has the chops for movies like this. That’s what I think anyway.
He is also surrounded by some terrific actors. Paul Bettany, who is really one of the more underrated actors working right now. He makes Bill Cox an appropriately despciable villain who you loathe almost immediately. These brits always make the best villains it seems. Virginia Madsen, who really should have gotten that Oscar for her tremendous work in “Sideways,” has a rather thankless role here as Harrison Ford’s wife, but she does make the most of it. I hope to see her do more stuff in the future.
Mary Lynn Rajskub plays Janet Stone who is Harrison Ford’s secretary in the movie, but she is basically doing her Chloe O’Brien character from “24.” That’s not too much of a bother because she is a lot of fun to watch here. Robert Patrick is Harrison Ford’s boss, and he is without his “Terminator 2” powers to stop Harrison when he thinks he is messing with the bank in the worst way.
Robert Forester is also here as one of Harrison Ford’s best friends in this movie, and he is always good to watch. I still can’t get over how brilliant he was in “Jackie Brown.” That’s a great performance for actors to study in film acting in how to do so much by doing so little.
I enjoyed “Firewall” for the most part. It was exciting enough for me to spend an evening. Still, one has to wonder where Harrison Ford’s career is going to go from here. He can’t keep doing these action movies forever, and it would do him well to stretch himself. He’s a better actor than most people seem to give him credit for. He was nominated for “Witness,” and he should have been nominated for “The Fugitive.”
Still, it’s kind of hard to take Harrison Ford seriouslyh in these kind of parts at this point. We have seen him do this kind of role again and again to the point where it threatens to become ridiculous. The one line that keeps getting mentioned from the film is:
“You will get the money when I get my family!”
It immediately reminds you of all the other movies he has done, and how many times he has done this kind of the film. Whether you like or hate this movie, you kind of want to see Harrison do something different next time. At the very least, to remind you what a great actor he can be. He keeps doing movies like these, he may deliver, but it will be hard to take him seriously. I am waiting for him to say in future movies:
“You’ll get the toaster oven when I get my family!”
“You’ll get the cheese grater signed by Rachel Ray when I get my family!”
“You’ll get the vibrator back when I get my family!”
Can’t wait until Indiana Jones 4!