Time Out saysIt’s almost nostalgic to see Bruce Willis approach ‘Die Hard’ territory as a former LAPD negotiator faced with a powder-keg hostage situation in the Ventura County backwater where he now plies his trade as the local sheriff. Over the past couple of years, the star has strayed away from heads-down no-nonsense action fare, but here he’s downsized into what’s basically an old-fashioned B-picture, where his cussed determination and beady eyed resolve can hold centre stage. This time though, he leaves the running around in ventilation ducts to the resourceful young son of the crooked accountant (Kevin Pollak), whose mountain-top high-tech mansion has been invaded by a trio of gun-toting teenage malcontents. The intruders are out for an easy score, but they must contend with the flash pad’s security arrangements as Bruce and the law gather outside the perimeter fence.
For reasons it would be iniquitous to reveal, it’s not quite that simple. The early stages of the film enterprisingly toy with exactly who’s hostage to whom. Director Siri, having worked on video games and French action flick ‘The Nest’, is adept at pumping it up, pushing the star’s emotions to the limit as Willis’s own family are menaced and his room to manoeuvre narrows rapidly. Everything’s cooking quite nicely, until you come to the realisation, not untypical of a kidnap suspenser, that the movie has nowhere left to run. Instead of tight plotting and gritty credibility, it tries to distract us with lamely operatic excess, to dismaying effect. Ah well, fun while it lasted, and Alexandre Desplat’s Herrmann-on-steroids score is richly entertaining in its own right.