A former hostage negotiator is the only hope for a family of three when
they are taken captive, but he soon learns his own family is on the line too.
Directed by Florent-Emilio Siri
Written by Doug Richardson
Starring Bruce Willis, Kevin Pollak, Ben Foster, Jonathan Tucker, Marshall Allman, Michelle Horn, Jimmy Bennett, Kim Coates, Serena Scott Thomas, Rumer Willis, Robert Knepper
Based on the novel by Robert Crais
There's a trend in the early to mid-2000's where big name stars attached themselves to generic, forgettable action thrillers that faded away into obscurity faster than you can say "paycheck." I expected Hostage to be one of these, but I was pleasantly surprised. Apart from a few loose story threads, Hostage is an entertaining crime thriller bordering on drama. It features a surprisingly strong performance from Bruce Willis, who was just on the verge of giving up back in 2005. While the plot and characters may be pretty formulaic, the performances and the shocking amount of emotional heft really help sell this one.
Willis plays Jeff Talley, a former hostage negotiator turned small-town sheriff who is haunted by his failure to save a mother and her child. But when a family of three are held hostage by three maniacs, Talley has a chance at redemption. The only catch is the father (Pollak) is a mob accountant, and the gangsters kidnap Talley's wife and daughter to ensure his cooperation in ending the hostage situation and getting their money back safe. There's a lot going on, and it's all pretty intense. Ben Foster does a scary good job at playing an unhinged psycho, so much so that it makes you wonder why he doesn't get more attention. And once again, Willis really gives it his all.
There's a lot in the movie that's pretty scary. The home invasion scene is done really well, almost too well. The tension created by the invaders being terrified teens in over their heads is palpable, and Foster is just plain crazy. I think Hostage is one hidden gem from the mid-2000's that should be revisited. While not particularly memorable, it does stand out among the rabble and has the potential to be a cult classic.