Directed by Florent Siri.
Written by Doug Richardson. Based on a novel by Robert
Starring Bruce Willis.
Release Year: 2005
Review Date: 3/22/05
As a long-time sucker for a Bruce Willis
actioner, I didn't have to think twice about going to see his new
film "Hostage." Of course, I expected it to be somewhere
between average and dogshit...much to my surprise, this movie was
actually pretty good!
Willis stars as long-time police negotiator
Jeff Talley, who has a deal go bad as the film opens, forcing him
into a low-profile position as the chief of police in a small town
outside of Los Angeles. Upon taking up his new position, he
has to deal with a dicey situation: some rich-guy accountant
(Kevin Pollak) has been taken hostage by three local teens,
including lead thug Dennis (Jonathan Tucker) and crazy,
trigger-happy thug Mars (Ben Foster). Since he knows that his
tiny police force can't handle a big-time hostage situation, he
transfers the case to LAPD...but, things take a turn for the worse
It is this twist--summarized briefly in
trailers for the film--that takes "Hostage" from a smells-like-poo-poo
hostage drama to a more intriguing action film. I knew that
something was up while watching the credits that this script was
adapted from a novel; I was like, "Wait, this is a by-the-numbers
hostage movie. Why would you need to adapt this from another
medium??" As a result, we get a slightly-different approach on
how the cops will break the accountant (and his two kids, played by
Jimmy Bennett and Michelle Horn) out of the house while taking out
the criminals, and this makes the film tense and, well, watchable.
It helps that Willis seems to be working in
this one; save for a couple of Willis moments (complete with wiseass
commentary and the trademark smirk), he plays Talley well enough to
keep the ship moving right along. The look of the film is
excellent, it features a ridiculous rich guy mansion, and has just
enough gunplay to keep the 18-to-35 male age range in the audience
glued to the screen. Director Florent Siri (he "directed"
parts of the last two "Splinter Cell" games for the Xbox) applies a
deft touch to this genre; the mix of action, some laughs, and some
light horror moments bring to mind another of the most popular
hostage flicks of our time, "The Negotiator", which is in part due
to the performances by Willis and the supporting cast.
Hey, what can I say? "Hostage" doesn't
deserve to be anything more than filler, but by doing all of the
basics well, it rises just above the normal fluff to give you a
Rating: $9.50 Show
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard