Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Movie Review: Hostage

United States, 2005
U.S. Release Date: 3/11/05
Running Time: 1:53
Rated: R (Violence, profanity)
Cast: Bruce Willis, Kevin Pollak, Jonathan Tucker, Ben Foster, Jimmy Bennett, Michelle Horn, Marshall Allman, Serena Scott Thomas, Rumer Willis

Director: Florent Siri
Producers: Mark Gordon, Arnold Rifkin, Bruce Willis, Bob Yari
Screenplay: Doug Richardson, based on the novel by Robert Crais
Music: Giovanni Fiore Coltellacci
Studio: Miramax Films

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With Bruce Willis now in his fifties, his legit action-star clock is ticking. Then again, Hostage presents conditioning for Willis to once again take on his iconic persona of John McClane in the impending Die Hard 4.0. However, unlike the Die Hard films, Hostage is spotted with a handful of tension truisms and a heightened suspension of disbelief. Yet, even though it could be considered a staple and somewhat-implausible action-thriller, Hostage is taut, gripping, and aptly-titled.

After witnessing a mother and child brutally murdered – on his watch – as an LAPD negotiator, Jeff Talley (Bruce Willis) shifted occupations and became the police chief of a less-hectic community in Ventura County, California. While Jeff’s relationships with his wife Jane (Serena Scott Thomas) and daughter Amanda (Rumer Willis) seem to be on the rocks, deep-down Talley loves his family and would do anything to protect them.

Once a hostage situation arises in Talley’s territory, he takes command as the hostage negotiator—that is, until he readily turns over control to a higher authority. An accountant, Walter Smith (Kevin Pollak), and his two children Tommy (Jimmy Bennett) and Jennifer (Michelle Horn) are held captive by three intruders—two brothers Dennis (Jonathan Tucker) and Kevin Kelly (Marshall Allman) and Dennis’s new friend Mars Krupcheck (Ben Foster). However, what Jeff doesn’t know is that Walter is an important man. A threat is made on the lives of Jeff’s wife and daughter; if he doesn’t resolve the hostage situation, his family will be slain. Jeff must maintain his composure and save a stranger and his family to ensure that the two women he loves the most are safe.

During its opening credits, Hostage displays a graphic blend of blacks, whites, and reds which exhibits first-time cinematic director Florent Siri’s fine sense of scope. Formerly a video game director, Siri exudes poise with a medley of visionary tenacity, dramatic fluency, and edge-of-your-seat suspense. Without a doubt, his work here will earn him enough accreditation to keep him on the Hollywood market.

Then again, when Bruce Willis is in command, he makes any production his own. Willis oozes with his typical action charm as though he is no where near being “over the hill.” As always, with Willis as the lead, he makes the movie worth your time and money.

In the case of Hostage, a picture that works on every level it aims for, it is the able combo of Willis and Siri that make this popcorn outing a surefire success. While Hostage may be stock on action, it is border-line nightmarish at its close and fresh enough to be called engrossing. Get your hands on Hostage, and don’t let go. (*** out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2005