Firewall

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dir. Richard Loncraine

It’s probably too much to ask these days for a mainstream Hollywood movie to be a few steps ahead of its audience, but, jeez, can’t they even try anymore? Firewall, Harrison Ford’s umpteenth entry into the white-collar family-values action film, smushes together two of the traditionally more wit-intensive suspense genres—the heist picture and home invasion thriller—to shockingly little effect. For all the blarney about hacking and up-to-the-minute tech geekery, it’s really just the same ol’ story about protecting the homestead from rustlers in black hats.

To be fair, first time scripter Joe Forte’s initial premise isn’t bad—upright Seattle bank security head (Ford) must hack into his own system in order to save his family from kidnappers (led by Eurotrash genius Paul Bettany). But director Richard (Wimbledon) Loncraine’s handling is unexceptional, and such talented actors as Robert Forster, Alan Arkin, and 24’s brilliantly prickly Mary Lynne Rajskub are swiftly jettisoned over the stern. Save for one admirably dopey late-act Macguffin involving the family dog, there’s little to no effort made to update the material to the cyber-age. By the time we reach the climax, a protracted fistfight in a house apparently made entirely of balsa wood, any pretense of sophistication has long fallen by the wayside.

So, it’s a mediocre movie, and one that would be quickly swept into the rental-shelf ether were it not for the fading legacy of its lead, an actor who was once, after all, the coolest man in the world. Sadly, the persnickety crabbiness that made Indy such a formula-goosing blast has long since calcified; here, Ford just seems bored, vaguely pissed at something offscreen (craft services?), and, frankly, too old for this shit. What’s the shelf life on stardom, anyway?