Firewall

Movie Review by Ania Kalinowska

Starring: Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany, Virginia Madsen, Mary Lynn Rajskub
Director: Richard Loncraine

One can only marvel at computer crime. From genius hackers tapping away at dusty keyboards in dark basements to tales of whizz kids infiltrating high security government networks. These have become staples that many a film has cleverly exploited.

But the ever-fantastic cybernetics industry does more than just provide the film industry with stories. It’s benefited the casting process too! A new generation of virtual villains has created the need for tech-savvy counterparts (brains protecting the systems that are under relentless attack). If movies are to be believed, these two forces are continually fighting in cyberspace. Phew, talk about good versus evil in an intangible dimension!

Which brings us to FIREWALL, and with it, yet another bank heist for the twenty-first century. But wait, this is no steal-a-penny-from-every-account scenario. It is a steal-ten-million-from-ten-richest-accounts sort of thing. In celluloid terms, that means seriously rolling in the dough.

The clever bad robber dude (played by Paul Bettany) goes one step beyond your usual cybercrime thug. Instead of breaching the bank’s net security, he attacks the man behind the security. How does he do it? He takes the guy’s family hostage in their own home. That’s why he’s clever, see. Of course he doesn’t realise that the head of the bank’s security department is none other than…Harrison Ford!

Now Harrison Ford is particularly apt at making one kind of film. This kind. FIREWALL gives the (at present, 63 year old!) legend yet another opportunity to re-enact his trademark all-American hero figure. Same character, new generation of gadget and crime, virtually unchanged stunts. Lowest common denominator is fulfilled.

The film has dilemmas that eat away at it like a worm infecting a hard drive. Plot holes and issues of implausibility fire at you through the entire movie, while the ending is ridiculous at best. But even though FIREWALL is an insult to the intelligence, it does manage to deliver a kind of tolerable entertainment, and as that, it just passes the ‘watchable’ mark. This is helped along by Bettany’s rather brilliant villain and Ford’s predictable character, one we’ve come to love through the decades.

So that’s that. Nothing amazing here. A pointless merry-go-round that’s not as bad as it is forgettable. At least you won’t have to delete it from your long-term memory.

3 out of 6 stars

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