Reviewed by: Gator MacReady

"Hostage is a brainless movie, masquerading as an intelligent thriller."

A rather direct-to-video title for a movie that is being marketed as Brucie's big comeback. Coz lets face it, after too many years of Whole Yard sequels, Hart's War, Charlie's Angels 2, Tears Of The Sun and loads of other generally bad movies, the guy is in desperate need of a hit. Does he even care about good scripts any more?

Brucie plays Jeff Talley, a hostage negotiator, who can't live with himself after inadvertently causing the death of a boy and his mum - didn't his character in the uber-shite Mercury Rising have the same problem? Now making a living as chief of police in some quiet valley town in the Californian countryside, he once again has to call upon his negotiation skills when three hoodlums, Dennis (the dork), Mars (a psycho - doesn't he look like Karl from Die Hard?) and Kevin (a dufus) break into the house of a supposedly decent, law-abiding citizen and start making all sorts of crazy, unrealistic demands.

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As if that wasn't enough, more complications are added in an effort to make the film appear sophisticated. The house is like a high-tech fortress and Mr Smith, the owner, isn't the weedy little runt businessman he seems, which matters little to the three hoodlums as they have already caved his skull in and tied up his kids. It does, however, matter to Brucie, as bigger bad guys on the side of Mr Smith take his family hostage, too (including his real-life daughter Rumer, who looks more like Brucie than Demi), and demand the return of some MacGuffin located in the Smith household.

Convoluted enough for you yet?

A lot of actors would make a meal of this, but Brucie just sleepwalks through the whole thing. For someone who is supposed to have nerves of steel, his character doesn't really keep it together very well. Plus Brucie is a shadow of his former self. He has no muscle, no hair and is skinnier than a butcher's pencil. I've seen more meat on a dirty fork. What's happened to him? The guy is 50 this month and he doesn't seem to be taking very good care of himself.

The new lot of baddies on Mr Smith's side are never fully explained, or understood. With shadowy appearances and deep, raspy voices, you get the impression that they're supposed to be dead hard. But they are total wimps!

The REAL bad guy is Mars (Ben Foster), locked up with Mr Smith's kids. He is e-v-i-l and a far more efficient killer than the rest of them. The last time we saw Foster was in The Punisher, where he played nerdy loser Spacker Dave. Well, in this movie he couldn't be any more of the exact opposite. Mars is completely around the bend and is definitely NOT the kind of guy you'd want your daughter to go on a date with.

Hostage is a brainless movie, masquerading as an intelligent thriller. By the end, the mangled story has nowhere to go and nothing to do but collapse into stupidity, as former video-game director Florent Emilio Siri chucks in pointless Gothic imagery and far too much slow-motion.

The Brucie we know and love is gone. In his place is a thin, frail old man. Where is the real Bruce Willis? What has this skinny slaphead done with him?

Reviewed on: 19 Mar 2005
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Convoluted double hostage thriller with a skinny ex-action hero losing the plot.
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Director: Florent Emilio Siri

Writer: Doug Richardson, based on the novel by Robert Crais

Starring: Bruce Willis, Kevin Pollack, Jonathan Tucker, Ben Foster, Johnny Messner, Rumer Willis

Year: 2005

Runtime: 113 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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