Thursday, May 12, 2005

Hostage: Review By Some Guy Who Slept Through The Flick

It’s been so long since anyone last heard from Bruce Willis, Hollywood put his picture on a milk carton as a missing person. Bruce’s last quasi-successful feature, “Unbreakable”, broke the back of his string of box office blockbusters and left him at the mercy of snoozers like “The Whole Ten Yards” and…others we’ve mercifully forgotten. In the past five years, Willis’ career as an action star has died hard, and it doesn’t take a sixth sense to see he needed an action hit and fast to pull a quick U-turn on his career path.

The premise of “Hostage” involves three delinquent teenagers following a family home intending to steal their SUV. Naturally, that would take about three minutes of movie time, so it’s obvious something…goes…wrong. We’re led to believe the teens end up trapped in a multi-million dollar compound on the outskirts of town with no way to escape, panicking and taking the family hostage. So, who you gonna call?

Well, as luck would have it, Jeff Talley (Willis) is a former L.A. hostage negotiator acting as chief of police in this backwater town in California. And as with most of Willis’ characters, he’s got some major mental malfunctions. In this case, he’s living with the devastation of a hostage negotiation gone bad, leaving a woman and her child dead. OK, that’s certainly a downer, but former videogame director Floret Emilio Siri apparently ascribes to the tried and true tactic of loading Willis’ character with angst and a bad marriage while dumping him in the middle of well choreographed chaos.

So the remainder of the movie takes us through the standard question of, “Can Willis save the day before he falls to pieces?” Not to mention, “Did too many hours of playing ‘Splinter Cell’ make ‘Mars’ (played by Ben Foster) such a freaking psycho?” Everything else you already know the answer to. When the Hitchcock suspense finally plays out, you won’t even ask about the sudden increase in the “gore” ratio. After all, you’ve seen all the “Die Hard” movies, so why ask why? While the flick has a video game feel to it, that’s not all bad when you’re trying to bilk big bucks using word of mouth advertising from the 18-25 year old demographics. As for the older demographics….well, hey, at least one of us is still employed!

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