Movie Review

Firewall

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
CONTRIBUTOR

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
Genre:
Action, Thriller, Crime, Drama
Length:
2 hrs.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
February 10, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros.

Fear, Anxiety and Worry… What does the Bible say? Answer

About murder in the Bible

How does viewing violence in movies affect the family? Answer

Featuring: Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany, Jimmy Bennett, Virginia Madsen, Robert Patrick
Director: Richard Loncraine
Producer: Charlie Lyons, Dana Goldberg, Bruce Berman
Distributor: Warner Bros.

“Everything He loves Is About To Be Used Against Him.”

If you like Harrison Ford movies, like I do. And if you like thrillers, like I do. And if you like to sit on the edge of your seat in a movie and root for the good guy, like I really do, then youll probably love FIREWALL.

I know there are plenty of people out there who will pick apart this film because they wanna know if all the cool gadgetry that Harrison Ford used was for real, and they might pick apart the realism of the plot, one we have seen over and over, in one form or another. Are there really bad guys out there who can make someone transfer millions of dollars into their offshore secret bank accounts before the federal security systems know about it? Probably not, or else we would be reading about it in the news within a few weeks of these movies are released. Ok, it can’t be done, but I love to watch the good guy win. Period. I don’t care if its air-tight realistic. I just love watching good prevail. We don’t have enough of it in films these days.

Basic plot: Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford, believable always as a regular Dad and husband who eventually saves his family and the day) is head of network security for a large Seattle based bank. Married to Beth (a beautiful Virginia Madsen), an architect who designed the house they live in, and having two well-adjusted kids, the older Sarah (sweet teen Carly Schroeder) and the younger Andy (the kid with a life-threatening allergy, Jimmy Bennet), besides being more affluent then his job really could make them, they are pretty much the basic all-around American family.

As his bank is in the stressful business of merging with another, Jack is asked by his trusted CEO Arlin Forester (almost a cameo by Alan Arkin) to have a little “PR” drink with his new boss, Gary Mitchell (played by “Terminator”-famed Robert Patrick). Not wanting to miss pizza-night with his family, Jack relents, but only for 45 extra minutes after work. And, of course, this is just enough time for bad guy Bill Cox/Mr. Redman (always wonderfully cool Paul Bettany) and his team of super-stealthy thief/extortionist/kidnappers to capture his family, lock down his house, rig it with security cameras, pack the fridge and get hunkered down for some unsettling criminal activities.

The suspense builds at a gratifying rate as the audience is pulled breathlessly through this film with Jack. Almost getting away. Almost getting his family to safety. Almost getting a secret call or e-mail in here and there, only to be out-witted by Bill, who nearly always knows what Jack will do before he does it.

But, of course, there is (as always) one simple thread that Bill forgot to tie up. Without giving it away, lets just say the family dog, Rusty, has a collar on things. This is all Harrison… er… I mean Jack needs to rescue his family and clear his name of any mistaken deception he pulled on the bank to get his family to safety.

FIREWALL is a lot like watching a western. Just like they used to be. Good guy gets tricked. The gal gets abducted. The bad guy is so smart, you just know he’s gonna win. Good guy gets knocked down so often, you wonder how he can get back up again. Good guy comes back with a vengeance in the last act—destroys the bad guy, saves the gal and the day. Ta-daa.

We are living in the 21st century, however, so our western-of-sorts is not without plenty of guns, stabbings, violence, women and children in peril (a child nearly dies due to an allergic reaction), blood, shootings, murder, one lewd finger gesture, and a token sprinkling of strong language. The f-word is said once and sh** is whispered twice, while the Lords name is used once in vain. The foul language is used mostly by the corrupt characters. There is no sex or nudity.

There is a character named Bobby who is depicted as a regular, nice guy Christian. He is not a hero or a geek per se, but a comment is made about “born-again Bobby” after he gives flowers to Jack’s secretary Janet (Mary Lynn Rajskub). She says he will need bigger blossoms than that to save her soul, as if dating a nice Christian guy would be a bad thing? Later in the movie, Bobby helps in an off-hand way by giving Janet his cell phone. We see Janet enter a church where there are plenty of Charismatic Christians singing about Jesus as Bobby leads them in worship from the stage in an obvious Christian rock group. I thought that it would be kinda cool if they all got together and prayed for Jesus to save the day, but I knew that wasn’t gonna happen.

I am not going to deny it, I had fun watching FIREWALL because it was just believable enough to get my adrenaline going and just safe enough that I knew I wouldn’t feel molested by the contents. Harrison Ford can still carry a film and still smirk at the bad guy, and it is at that moment we all know he’s gonna turn things around. His characters have always given us hope. Hope that the bad guys can be beaten. Hope that you are never too small to make a difference in the face of the enemy. Hope that in a world torn by the reality of war, personal loss, corruption and sin, there is no one too lowly not to be able to declare justice and truth will prevail.

Perhaps we come away knowing that we should be redeeming the time. How we walk in this life may just save or destroy. There is a satisfaction coming out of a film knowing that good has won over evil. In our modern, new-age times, this might come off as “hokey,” but it’s not. We feel good about it because it is what’s right. It is foolish to the world, but spells wisdom to the just.

“See that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: None


Viewer Comments
Positive
PositiveHarrison Ford once again saves us from the classic bad guy, this time a contemporary bank robber. Family values and commitment to his company are obvious anchor themes of the movie. 'Jack’s' unwavering devotion to his family’s welfare nearly robs the movie of it’s tightly woven plot. I appreciated the suspense this story produced, but felt it could have ended with more depth. Overall, it was wonderful entertainment and great to see Mr. Ford watching out for the world… again.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Paul, age 48
Positive—Very intense movie. It reminded me a lot of the Jack Ryan films Harrison Ford has done in the past (“Patriot Games,” “Clear and Present Danger”). The “F” word was used once, and beyond that I don’t remember a whole lot of profanity. They should have left the “F” word out; completely unnecessary. For the most part, the story was believable, and you will quickly want the bad guys dead in this one. Enjoyable and on the end of my seat type of movie.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Brad, age 34
Positive—My wife and I loved this movie. Contrary to what our local movie critic said when he called Harrison Ford “emotionless,” we thought Ford showed great emotion. His character, Jack, shows creativity and familial love as he seeks to rescue his wife and two children from the bad guys. My wife DID agree with movie critics who opine that Harrison Ford is too old to make the intense fight scene believable, but I felt that under extreme pressure a person can perform extraordinary feats of strength or endurance. Supportive actors did a good job, but this was clearly a vehicle in which Ford is the driver, and he doesn’t disappoint. A scattering of profanity but less than most cinema today.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Ron Reames, age 59
Positive—Loved it! Classic good guy/bad guy plot that never gets old—neither does Harrison Ford. I have a few favorite spots in this movie, one being Jack’s ingenuity, particularly making a scanning a storage device from a fax machine and an MP3 player. Everything was spectacularly. The ending was somewhat wanting. But overall this film is a real winner.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Jonathan Hicks, age 29
Positive—…very intense movie!! They probably had to do a lot of special effects, because Harrison Ford is getting kind of old for doing violent movies like “What Lies Beneath.” This movie is mostly action, thriller, and crime. Robert Patrick played an excellent role as a bad guy, which is what he usually is. There was no smooching… There is little language, except when they fight. Just pure intense action.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Jeff, age 24
Neutral
Neutral—I’m going to start out this commentary wearing my filmmakers' hat. From this viewpoint, the movie is excellent! Harrison Ford delivered a beautiful performance, the scripting was obviously well done, everything—great! I enjoyed the fact that the filmmakers did not seem to rely heavily on special effects. Everything was real.

But now to my Christian hat. Please, don’t take your kids to watch this one! There is no sexual material, but the language is far more than I can tolerate. Yes, I’ve seen worse, but you’ve got to draw a line somewhere, as far as language is concerned, and this movie went past it. Secondly, the violence is heavy. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fist fight! But the movie could have been just as exciting without the fight’s ending with an axe in the back of the antagonist. Also, there is a scene in which another bad guy is shot in the head point blank after pleading for mercy. What makes this scene worse is that you get to see the reaction of those who witnessed it, which really ripped my heart out, but not in the way that good filmmaking should. Lastly, how did the movie treat God? Well, it didn’t rip Him up, but, in my opinion, they would have done better to just leave Him alone. One character, nicknamed “Born-again Bobby” is shown pursuing a relationship with a girl who doesn’t particularly care to be pursued. I just don’t believe that that creates a good opinion for Christians or, more importantly, for the God we serve.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Kristen Chambers, age 19
Neutral—Basically it’s Harrison Ford’s formulaic action/thriller role. It’s entertaining and almost completely believable, but I’d wait to see it on DVD.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Maria Gottuso, age 37
Neutral—This movie is exciting, moves fast, and kept our attention. Harrison Ford is excellent, and Paul Bettany’s portrayal of the “bad guy” was terrific. I would really like to recommend this movie, however, I cannot get past the 1 or 2 “F” words. But what grieved me most was the profaning of the names of God and Jesus. his movie could have been made without the profanity, but every time the Lord’s Name is taken in vain, I am saddened. It is for this reason that I really can’t recommend this movie, for I feel I would be encouraging people to listen to the Lord’s name being repeatedly profaned.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Maggie, age 58
Negative
Negative—just too much swearing. I am not entertained by hearing the F-word.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Debra Tunney, age 54
Negative—…They took the name of the Lord in vain more than once. It is a very suspenseful film and very well acted, but the viewer needs to know that they do blaspheme (twice from Harrison within a 1 hour period). My opinion is negative because they didn’t have to use the Lord’s name in vain. Also, they have a character that is supposed to be a Christian, but they make him out to be a loser of sorts.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Michael, age 36
Comments from young people
Positive—This was a great film. It was very suspenseful. It had a great plot and kept you on the edge of your seat the whole time. There was some language and violence, so I don’t recommend it to young children, but for teens and adults, this is a great film!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Justin Hines, age 16
Positive—I enjoyed this movie. It didn’t have any Christian themes in it, but it didn’t bash Christians either. Harrison Ford did a spectacular job, and I was very satisfied with how it turned out. This is a great action movie that was well worth the money.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Jamey Shelley, age 15
Positive—I have to say it’s a very suspenseful movie. This movie put in my opinion Harrison Ford back on the map. The violence is somewhat intense in a lot of the movie. Like, in one part one of jack’s kids is allergic to peanuts, Cox (the bad guy) gives the kid a cookie saying that there’s no peanuts. But there was peanuts in it. The kid has a very severe allergy attack and almost dies. Intense to watch. Also, (this is kinda a spoiler warning, so if you don’t wanna see what happens skip this part), at the end of the movie, with the big battle between Cox and Jack, Jack puts a pickaxe into Cox’s back. No blood, but it’s an intense scene to watch. Like I said, this movie has violence that does get intense on it. There’s is also some language. I recall one f-bomb 12 or 13 s-words and a similar number of milder profanities(mostly a**hole). Now Recommend this movie to mature teens and adults. This is no kiddie movie. But I do recommend it to people who like Harrison Ford and suspenseful action movies.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Michael “Angel” Edwards, age 16
Neutral—I am a huge Harrison Ford fan, so you would assume right that I was looking forward to this movie ever since I saw the previews. I can’t say that I was disappointed, but I wasn’t impressed. Ford and Bettany were excellent with their portrayals of their characters, and for most of the movie, the plot kept me on the edge of my seat. The part I wasn’t impressed with was the continuous use of the s-word, god’s name in vain, one spoken f-word, and a middle finger. Accompanying that would be the extensive violence with a bloody ending. All in all, don’t waste your money
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Benjamin Jayman, age 13
Neutral—I had expected a lot from Firewall and it was good. The story line was good, BUT it had a lot of swear words in it. Wouldn’t get it when it comes out on DVD.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Joseph, age 13
Neutral—I loved the movie’s story line, the characters, and the suspense, but there was way to much swearing… I wouldn’t recommend this movie for people under the age’s of 13. There was violence, but it wasn’t horrific or anything. But I like the movie overall.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Julia, age 12
Negative—One word pretty much describes this movie: BORING. You’d expect something more from a movie where Harrison Ford is the main actor. The movie revolves around Jack Stanfield (Ford) and his typical American family. Everything turns upside down when he meets Bill Cox, who has a group of thugs beak into Jack’s house, imprison Jack’s wife and kids, and rig the house with security cameras. Jack is then forced by Mr. Cox, (Paul Bettany) to rob the huge bank where he works. Now this sounds very interesting and suspenseful, but it isn’t like that at all. Most of the film just couldn’t keep me entertained. There wasn’t any action (besides several scenes where Mr. Cox slaughters his own thugs without a thought) until the very end, where Jack and Cox fight it out by pushing each other through a few walls. It’s not an action movie at all. It’s really just a suspense movie, I guess. Coming from a Christian perspective, the biggest problem with the movie is the heavy profanity. I was surprised that the reviewer only heard sh*t twice. I heard it used 10+ times. And the Lord’s name was used at least ten times. I think there was also an F-word thrown into the mix. The violence is also pretty strong. Throughout, Cox is shooting his own thugs in the back. There is definitely no shortage of killing. In the end, Jack stabs Cox is the back with a pickax. You then see Cox’s face as blood flows out of his mouth. Now for the positives. For one thing, the acting was excellent. Not surprisingly, Ford created an excellent portrayal of Jack. Likewise, Paul Bettany did great. As he brought a charming naval doctor to Master and Commander, he brought an incredible villain to Firewall. Seriously, Bettany created one of the best villains I’ve seen. However, good acting doesn’t make a movie. It didn’t make this movie. Some people wouldn’t really mind the profanity, but if you get through that, there’s the boringness to overcome. I couldn’t get past either.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Joseph Hughey, age 14