Wait. Leave your brain at the door. No, not for this review - for the new Bruce Willis action movie "Hostage," about a sheriff who is forced to go to drastic measures to save his family. In real-life, his family would die ten times over, but thankfully director Florent Emilio Siri left reality at the doorstep. And no, that's not a good thing.
"Hostage" follows ex-LAPD hostage negotiator Jeff Talley, who, a year after a tragic incident, is now working as sheriff in a small rural community. Things are pretty peaceful until the three dumbest criminals in the world decide to steal an Escalade from within the confines of a gated mansion. Instead, they kill a cop and get locked inside the house, holding a family hostage. Talley brings in the big city cops and heads home, only to be taken hostage himself and told that if he doesn't safely retrieve a DVD containing sensitive information from within the house, his family will die. As all smart cops would do, he smiles and nods and doesn't inform anyone about his predicament. Instead, he single-handedly engages his dumb counterparts in attempt to save his family, the family locked inside the house and himself. Oh, and one of the idiots I talked about earlier... well, he's also a psychopath. Literally.
In concept, "Hostage" sounds pretty neat. Though it has generic thriller written all over it, I, like many people, like to see Bruce Willis in action roles. It doesn't have to be great action; it just has to be decent. Unfortunately, "Hostage" is so full of holes it is laughable.
First off, why are these master criminals so concerned about retrieving this secretive DVD so quickly? No justification is ever given as to why they need it the very same night that three white trash idiots decide to steal a car at gunpoint and end up on national television surrounded by cops. These bad guys behind the scenes go through such elaborative planning to kidnap Talley's family and dress up like FBI agents, all to get a DVD in a movie case? Why go through all the trouble when you could just wait until the three morons are arrested and killed and then sneak into the house once the cops are gone and take the DVD. It's not like the cops are going to find encrypted information on a burned DVD inside a regular movie box. It makes no sense.
So, the seemingly smart criminals are actually dumber than the dumb criminals, but let's talk about those guys for a little bit. The three kids who lock themselves in the house don't do a single thing right. They scream at each other, but that's about it. The least intelligent of them all is Dennis, played by Jonathan Tucker, who is the apparent leader of them all. After the police surround the place, he stumbles across an open safe and finds millions of dollars. He gets delighted and starts talking about what he's going to do with the money. Did he forget that he was surrounded by cops with no chance of escape? Second, Talley talks to him and asks for $2 million in exchange for his freedom; Dennis actually falls for it. And finally, to cap it off, when the crazy idiot kills his idiot brother, he thinks that a sniper shot him, even though he heard his brother fall and the crazy idiot is standing at the very spot where he fell from.
Let's get onto the crazy idiot. Mars, played by Ben Foster, perhaps isn't as stupid as he is crazy, and crazy he is. Foster does go over-the-top at times, but he is creepy to the bone in this movie. This is the role every young actor should love to play, as his character likes to kill people, likes to watch them die and is ruthless to the end. He is persistent even after he gets stabbed in the cheek.
Okay, now changing subject back to the stupidity of this film... A spoiler alert should have been given a long time ago, but anything I say really isn't going to ruin this movie. If you still want to see this movie after reading this review, then you want to see it for pure mindless entertaining, nothing more. Anyway, Willis manages to get the injured dad (played by Kevin Pollak) out of the house, but instead of taking him to the hospital he parks the ambulance behind some bushes and tries to extract information out of him. Wouldn't the 200 other cops in the vicinity get suspicious of this? Wouldn't the news copters overhead keep their cameras on the ambulance the entire time? Jesus Christ, who wrote this story?
Of course, what makes this movie really laughable is the director. This is a B-grade thriller at best, something that could have been immensely enjoyable if it wasn't taken so seriously. Unfortunately, Siri takes "Hostage" incredibly seriously, and considering the gaping holes in the screenplay, it just makes him look like a fool. Worst is that Siri tried to be way too artistic with the movie, as he carelessly uses slow motion footage and other cheesy, out-of-date techniques to attain drama, but the method backfires (especially the fire scene, which looks like something right out of "The Crow"). To add insult to injury, "Hostage" has about the worst use of music I have ever heard. The soundtrack for the film is just terrible and there was rarely a scene where the appropriate choice of music was used.
All this being said, "Hostage" does keep you entertained, even if part of that entertainment comes from laughing at the cheesy parts. Siri took his movie way too seriously, but it's still a fun little thrill ride.
Nevertheless, this is a movie that is painfully bad. Do you think Bruce Willis knew what he was getting into when he read the script? Probably not. Do you think he realized what he had gotten into when he watched it at the premiere? Oh yeah. Well, I can wait for "Die Hard 4.0."
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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