Hostage is made for Bruce Willis.
I can’t count the number of hours I’ve spent watching Bruce Willis in the series of Die Hard films. His heroic action draws me back again and again. In Hostage he’s a cop again who fails in the first reel to resolve a hostage situation and a mother and her son are killed. It draws him into a dark place in his mind and his work as a negotiator ends. The ominous atmosphere continues a year later when he is forced to face another hostage situation in a small town where he has become police chief.
Director Florent Emilio Siri sets an almost religious tone to the film, Willis is challenged like Job as he is forced from his depressed world into one that could take everything that he cares for. Fire and water are used along with an excess of violence and blood but they add to the darkness of the film. At the same time Willis’ Chief Jeff Talley is complemented well by a number of bad guys and one little kid played Jimmy Bennett who keeps his cool and smartly assists Willis as he attempts to free the boy, his sister (Michelle Horn) and their father (Kevin Pollak).
The complicated plot brings us into a search for a DVD (Heaven Can Wait) in which Pollak’s Smith has encrypted information harmful to underworld characters. He has become very wealthy doing the books for not so legal companies. His wealth allows him to drive a Cadillac Escalante which becomes a magnet for three young lost boys. Mars (Ben Foster) is the most dangerous and has a gun, the other two are Dennis and Kevin Kelly (Jonathan Tucker and Marshall Allman). Kevin is along for the ride but his brother Dennis considers himself the leader and along with Mars invade the semi-secure palatial home of Smith.
Along comes the police chief (Willis) working to free the hostages just as in the first scene. The twist and driving force in the film is sprung on him when his family is kidnaped by the gangsters who want the DVD. Squeezed between two irrational forces and working outside of the county sheriff’s office authority, he must find a way to save all the hostages, especially his own wife and daughter.
The climax has a little too much fire and blood and ranges a little far, but it does continue the theme of a dark dangerous place in which Willis must perform. We also get to see a chase through air ducts that feels like Alien, and a solution to the crippling fire right out of The Towering Inferno.
But it’s Willis’ ability to be somewhat of an average man (even though he’s a cop) in extraordinary dangerous circumstances who uses all his strength and skill to reverse a situation which appears impossible to save. In Hostage he brings us more of the same and we enjoy it just as much.