Firewall

Film
DRIVE, HE SAID Ford, right, does exactly what he's told to do.
DRIVE, HE SAID Ford, right, does exactly what he's told to do.

Time Out says

A fellow critic once remarked that as a huge Harrison Ford fan, he'd happily watch the action-film icon do little more than read the phone book onscreen; thanks to this plodding potboiler from Richard Loncraine, that gentleman and many other unlucky viewers will pretty much do just that. Granted, no actor could turn the script's technobabble dialogue, cribbed from a Michael Crichton novel and designed to make IT departments swoon, into a Shakespearean exchange. But judging from the way Ford sleepwalks through all of the tepid thriller's contrived twists, he could be reciting the "Plastics--Plows" section of the Yellow Pages and you'd never know the difference.

The film's scenario, about a bank's security-software expert (Ford) whose captive family will be killed unless he helps a criminal mastermind (Bettany) internally liberate some loot, doesn't help matters, calling for Ford to do little besides repeat his usual gruff, grumbly hero shtick. Meanwhile, the supporting cast is given its own stock types to gamely enliven, from Bettany's malevolent Brit villain and Madsen's weepy damsel in distress to Mary Lynn Rajskub's girl Friday, a reprise of her role on TV's 24. By the time a traceable GPS dog collar (!) instigates a major plot point, the film's gone from warmed-up leftovers to laughably ludicrous. The burning question isn't whether Ford will save the day, only how this movie made it past the studio's quality-control perimeter. (Opens Fri; see Index for venues.)—David Fear

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