2006-03-10 / Columnists


'Firewall' - Indiana Geek
By Robert Snyder

The greatest shock to strike audiences viewing the suspense-thriller, "Firewall," is the revelation that actor Harrison Ford has become an aging, near arthritic Indiana Jones.

In the opening scenes, his character, Jack Stanford, shuffles around his home (where his two young children seem more like his grandchildren) and his place of business, a Seattle bank where he serves as the computer security expert. However, it's possible the old-man moves are simply to connote geekiness. After all, he is a computer nerd.

Still, the veteran action hero's age is catching up with him. Maybe, he should start directing, as does Clint Eastwood. The final sequence where Stanford battles the bad guys to save his family was, in fact, staged by the star himself, who is long familiar with fight scene finales.

As a suspense-thriller, "Firewall," is workmanlike, well crafted and totally humorless. Following the tried-and-true tradition of Joseph Hayes' classic, "The Desperate Hours," the film has the family of an honorable man (Stanford) held hostage by thugs, who seek the hero's expertise at siphoning big bucks into the off-shore bank account of head villain Bill Cox (Paul Bettany).

Complications arise when Cox discovers that a larger company has taken over the bank, depriving Stanford of access to the funds. Ever resourceful, the computer geek finds a way to rob the bank using his daughter's iPod. But, the Joe Forte script forsakes credibility by having Stanford's new boss (Robert Patrick) eye his every move, yet still not catch on to the scam until it's too late.

Stanford wiggles his way out of the mess with the help off his secretary, Janet (Mary Lynn Rajskub), her wannabe boyfriend's cell phone and an obnoxious dog. The whole thing ends up a deserted farmhouse, where Ford gets to stage the aforementioned climactic fight scene.

Under the earnest direction of Richard Loncraine, "Firewall" is far from Ford's finest, but it's not boring and provides 104 minutes of popcorn-devouring diversion. The aging star had best hang up his action stirrups and move behind the camera. It's time Hollywood find a younger dude to fill Indiana's boots.

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