Cast: Bruce Willis, Kevin Pollak, Jimmy Bennett, Michelle Horn, Ben Foster, Jonathan Tucker, Marshall Allman, Serena Scott Thomas, Rumer Willis
Director: Florent Siri
Genre: Suspense/Drama/Thriller
Rated: MA 15+ medium level violence
Running Time: 113 Minutes

Would You Sacrifice Another Family To Save Your Own?

Devastated by an unspeakable tragedy while on the job as a hostage negotiator for the LAPD. Jeff Talley (Bruce Willis) resigns and accepts a low-profile job as a police chief in the sleepy town of Bristo Camino in Ventura County. On a slow Monday morning Jeff Talley's job becomes anything but quiet and sets him on a course that could not only change his professional but personal life forever.

When three delinquent teenagers follow a family home intending to steal their car, they get more than they bargained for. The trio finds themselves trapped in a multi-million dollar compound on the outskirts of town with no way to escape. Panicked, they take the family hostage, placing Talley in a situation that he never wanted to face again. He is forced to take on a role he abandoned where the stakes quickly evolve into a hostage situation far more volatile and terrifying than anything he could imagine.

My Verdict:
Jeff Talley - Bruce Willis complete with long greying hair and a beard that he seems to comb regularly, is a top-of-the-line police negotiator trying to defuse a hostage situation where a man has his wife and son bailed up inside their home. Talley doesn't want anyone to die but the situation ends in tragedy when the man shoots all the occupants of his house, including himself. This devastates Talley and he quits his job. Cut to a year later where Talley has moved to take on a nice quiet role of Police Chief in Bristo Camino. He is now clean-shaven and bald and is struggling to deal with his marriage, which is in crisis, including relationship issues with his daughter Amanda (Willis' real-life daughter Rumer).

On a regulation quiet day at the office, Talley's routine is thrown into chaos when a hostage situation arises high in the canyons of Bristo Camino where three aberrant young men have followed a family to their home with the intention of stealing their car. Trouble is, they have chosen the wrong people to tango with but don't know it, just yet. The owner of the house, Walter Smith (Kevin Pollak), is involved in high stakes fraud and his connections will do whatever it takes to secure a DVD that they need which has information stored on it but this can't happen whilst the three impulse-acting men have taken the house over and created a hostage situation. So, Smith's connections take Talley's wife and daughter hostage and blackmail him with their lives - he gets his wife and daughter back safely, if he gets them the DVD. This has now become a double hostage situation.

Bruce Willis is at his best as Jeff Talley. He is Mr Tough Guy combined with a softer emotional side that only becomes apparent in a crisis. He carries the film throughout effectively and never wavers, so it's his consistency that gives his character some depth. The three youths that take the Smith house over - Mars(Ben Foster), Dennis(Jonathan Tucker) and Kevin(Marshall Allman), are very effective as their situation escalates far beyond their control, with the two Smith children, 8-year-old Tommy(Jimmy Bennett) and 14-year-old Jennifer(Michelle Horn) equally proving their worth as hostages.

Another remarkable feature of 'Hostage' is the Smith house where most of the action takes place. This is a fortress built into the side of a canyon and has multiple security and safety measures installed which makes the task of securing the safety of the children very difficult and it also provides the opportunity for Talley to use a very ironic line - "F**king rich people", when the houses' security proves extremely difficult to infiltrate.

The opening credit sequence is quite different and very effective and is a glimpse of things to come in this semi-unconventional hostage movie. There is a high degree of suspense and tension that builds to a climax that might be a little predictable in one sense but not another which was good not to see the easy road taken. It is a fairly violent, aggressive and a sometimes brutal movie with plenty of gunfire exchanges and scenes of people being shot, complete with graphic deaths. 'Hostage' is a clever tense thriller that will definitely satisfy any Bruce Willis fan.

Rating : B

Christina Bruce


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