It’s utterly depressing to see that Harrison Ford has been reduced to this. I can understand that he’s past his peak, but in the last four years he’s appeared in two films: Hollywood Homicide and this. Up until seeing Firewall I was apprehensive at the idea of an Indiana Jones 4, but now I’m desperate for it to happen, if only so Ford can strut his stuff just once more, and remind us how he’s made such a significant contribution to Hollywood.

FirewallFirewall isn’t that bad per se, it just isn’t any good. There is NOTHING going for this ‘thriller’. There’s no hook, no gimmick, no gripping scenes or indeed anything memorable. The title doesn’t even accurately reflect the narrative. There’s very little time spent hacking in this film, as instead we watch Ford get a little of his Air Force One thang on in the name of saving his family. Other recognisable names such as Robert Patrick and Alan Arkin drift by, but they don’t get a chance to really contribute anything meaningful.

The major flaw with Firewall is that it doesn’t put down the groundwork to start with. There are no rules to the narrative (whether they be spatial, physical or temporal restrictions) and thus they can’t be broken. If there’s no rule breaking we don’t have an exciting thriller, we just have a collection of bland action scenes interspersed with slower moments full of threats and counter threats.

The performances are perfectly adequate, and I have no doubt all concerned will escape relatively unscathed. Harrison Ford is believable as a caring family man, but less so as an anti-hacker systems engineer (or something like that), and Paul Bettany passable as the cause of the pain.

There’s a bit of MacGyver going on, with some dubious on the spot inventions (isn’t it curious some films will have mobile phones forever out of range, yet others will allow the common laptop to topple small nations?), and some half hearted attempts at humour, but none of it really gets us anywhere interesting. Admittedly, there are no exceptionally stupid scenes, but then again there’s nothing exceptional about Firewall at all.

Oh, and this is also the umpteenth film to use Massive Attack’s song ‘Angel’, so it loses originality points just cos of that.

Rating: 2.0 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 6th March 2006
Hoopla Factor: 1.0 stars

Match Point The Descent