Air Force One on the ground – that’s pretty much Firewall in a nutshell. Harrison Ford once again gets to deal with gun-toting bad guys (though in a much bigger space) as he tries to save his family without giving the bad guys what they want. It is an average thriller where a slightly more complicated plot tries to make up for an older Ford and feebler action.
Ford plays the head of network security at a small bank in Seattle. The bank is being acquired by a much bigger bank and Ford doesn’t see eye to eye with the new bank’s head. A man who is introduced to him as a businessman soon reveals himself to be a high-tech robber as he holds Ford’s family hostage and asks Ford to find a way to wire transfer $100 million from his bank. Ford goes along while constantly thinking of a way to save his family.
Firewall is a by-the-numbers thriller that doesn’t miss any trick in the thriller handbook. It gives Ford the perfect family (with a loving wife, a boy and girl), a dog (which will help him at some point), a big house (so people can run around and hide) and a nice job (with access to lots of money). His little boy even has allergies! Similarly, the film itself has familiar elements like a near-escape, small crises, a trusted sidekick, etc. So the film is mostly predictable.
There is a lot of computer mumbo-jumbo thrown around though surprisingly, I never heard the term ‘firewall’. But they add little to the plot. The main idea is to see how Ford outwits the bad guys. Some of his tricks (like his walking letter dictation) are clever but as always, the villain is one step ahead of him initially. The villain too has more plans up his sleeve than just a robbery and that helps keep the plot moving even after the main deed is done.
Villains in thrillers always go to a factory or a similar place to provide an interesting setting for the climax. The villain here too drives a long way but ends up in a pretty unexciting place. So the climax is a little low-key though there is some good one-on-one action.
Ford is solid as always and gets a lot of chances to display quiet anger, which is what he does best. He looks too old to be taking on someone like Paul Bettany in hand-to-hand fighting but the stunts manage to be convincing since he is bruised a lot too. Paul Bettany (who plays Silas in The Da Vinci Code) is smooth and cool as the bad guy. The others don’t have much to do.