Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hostage (2005)

Okay here's another Bruce Willis action/adventure thriller that's not "Die Hard" but tries really hard to be. The plot summary goes like this: "A failed police negotiator turned small town cop, must save the lives of a family held hostage, which draws him into a much more dangerous situation". Add a few surprises such as the mob kidnapping the main character's family (Willis), and add a fledgling psychopath to the mix and you have Hostage. The film is okay and throws in a few surprises, but it's the ending that sort of blows it for me. Everything is resolved and ends happily, but somewhere in the back of my brain I'm saying "I've seen this ALL before".

The cinematography of the film is really something to note. Giovanni Fiore Coltellacci is the cinematographer of this film, and he knows how to frame a shot, and make Willis look oh so cool. The action sequences are well done, and the story is interesting, but then there's that ending. We all want resolution in a film, and not having it is something that's unforgivable, but this ending seems a bit false. Maybe the filmmakers were rushed, and needed to cut down on time. The film does come in at 113 minutes which is a bit long for one of these films, but so much does happen. Maybe it's too much and they needed to cut somethings in the writing stage.
My main problem is that the filmmakers do a great job setting us up to really HATE the guys who kidnap Willis' characters family. They do die, but not how we want them. Too fast, and in the end the big honcho who we've seen on the phone briefly barking out orders is NEVER dispatched. Will Kevin Pollak's character testify and put him in jail, or will Pollaks character do the deed himself.

Maybe it's just a minor nit-pick, but I wasn't to satisfied with the ending. I enjoyed the film up until then, and I thought Bruce Willis did a great job. Willis has become the John Wayne of our era, and he does it so well. I'm sure everyone will look at this film as another "Die Hard" rip off, but it does try to be more then that. We even have the dysfunctional family in the beginning like Die Hard does. Maybe the fault of this movie is that it was just too ambitious, and some of the writing needed to get a bit more fine tuned.
Is "Hostage" a great action/adventure. I'd have to say yes. Renting the film isn't a bad choice. After all it's a Bruce Willis film, and you know you're going to see major butt kicking, and if that's what you're looking for rent it and have a good time. But that ending. It could have been a lot better.

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