Review: Hostage

Posted by: Dean Kish  //  March 11, 2005 @ 11:59am

Filed under: Reviews

Bruce Willis is back. Where has this action hero been?

Well, it has been 10 years since Bruce Willis concluded the Die Hard trilogy with 1995's Die Hard: With a Vengeance, and it's been 5 years since Bruce Willis has had a certified hit with 2000's Unbreakable. But this actor is a survivor, and it looks like he may be back with a vengeance.

With six films slated to come out in the next year and a half, Willis is making a good run at it.

Hostage opens with Willis playing hostage negotiator Jeff Talley, who seems to be at his wits end after his latest crisis goes utterly sour. The eventual outcome sends Talley packing and he ends up in an off-the-beaten-path police station where nothing really happens except for a strain being put on his marriage.

During one quiet afternoon, three teenage delinquents spot a family at a convenience store and marvel at their new SUV. The delinquents follow the family home and plot out their home invasion with the goal of stealing the SUV. They picked the wrong home and the wrong day for such a spree.

As the tension escalates, Talley must face his demons and desperately try to save the family from these criminals. Can he do it before he comes unglued? What is the secret buried within the house?

Willis is utterly unbelievable in his tour-de-force performance as Jeff Talley. There are echoes of what Willis was able to do with his infamous character John McClane from Die Hard. But Willis has always been great at being the everyday guy who now has to be the hero. It was that magic that made Die Hard such a great film and it also rings true here in this performance.

I was also really impressed with Ben Foster, who plays Mars, the most psychotic of the delinquents. This kid oozes insanity and is brilliant. The kid reminded me a lot a young Brad Dourif, who was always the embodiment of the unhinged psychotic to me. Dourif has had a brilliant career being this kind of character, and so may Foster.

Another probably surprising thing about this film is that it's directed by video game director Florent Siri, who conceived the past two "Splinter Cell" games. The claustrophobia and styled action sequences that Siri is able to conceive in the film are so close to what he was able to create in the video game series. I was also thoroughly impressed with the visuals in the film's opening credits. It is an awesome sequence.

The film's screenwriter, Doug Richardson, is a seasoned action writer with writing credits for such films as Die Hard 2, Bad Boys, and Money Train. Richardson's attention to detail with his script and high tension really comes alive with Siri's slick and dark direction.

I did find a couple things that bugged me about the film. I didn't like the film's musical score. I felt that in a lot of sequences the music drowned out the tension and didn't fit some scenes. I also felt that the film went for the gore when the tension started to wean.

The film still is a first-class action piece. It has all the thrills and tension that makes this kind of film a joy to watch. Bruce Willis is back, and would someone please sign this Florent Siri to another project ASAP? (4 out of 5). So Says the Soothsayer.

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