McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Civil War 25th Commemorative Edition DVD & Blu-ray Oct 13Aquarius: The Complete First Season DVD & Blu-ray Sep 15Justified: The Complete Series on Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Surface on DVD, VOD, and DIGITAL HD Sep 1

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

American Music Awards 2015: Proximity to action matters...
Brad Pitt Says He's 'Angry' at the Finance Industry Aft...
Adele Speaks Exclusively on New Music:'The Most Poignan...
'The Walking Dead' reveals Glenn's fate ...
Adele Performs on Saturday Night Live: Video ...
Blacklisted: The Inside Story of Dalton Trumbo and the ...
Ryan Seacrest Confirms All American Idol Judges Will Re...
Fargo' Preview: 5 Reasons You Should Be Watching This S...
Bruce Willis makes Broadway debut...
Entertainment industry modifies plans after Paris trage...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Warner Home Video presents
Firewall Hybrid HD-DVD (2006)

"Don't imagine for one second that I just blundered in here out of the rain."
- Bill Cox (Paul Bettany)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: June 06, 2006

Stars: Harrison Ford, Paul Bettany, Virginia Madsen
Other Stars: Mary Lynn Rajskub, Robert Patrick, Carly Schroeder, Jimmy Bennett, Robert Forster, Alan Arkin
Director: Richard Loncraine

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for some intense sequences of violence and some language.
Run Time: 01h:45m:09s
Release Date: June 06, 2006
UPC: 012569810273
Genre: techno thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ BA-A B-

DVD Review

The techno thriller has fallen into a fairly standard and predictable pattern—bad guy gets computer expert to hack into banking system, expert does the trick, bad guy is treacherous, expert messes with the bad guy, explosions ensue, roll endless credits. To some extent, Firewall falls into that same paradigm, but it differs from such brainless pictures as Swordfish in that the characters are well-developed and the viewer actually cares what happens to the hero. Of course, having Harrison Ford in the lead doesn't hurt.

Ford stars as Jack Stanfield, the IT specialist for a Seattle bank that has been recently taken over in a merger. He's led to believe that Bill Redmond (Paul Bettany) is offering him a position in a bank security outfit, but in fact Bill is Bill Cox, the mastermind of a scheme to kidnap his wife Beth (Virginia Madsen), and kids Sarah (Carly Schroeder) and Andy (Jimmy Bennett), and coerce Jack into looting $100 million from the bank. Using copious amounts of information he's compiled on the family, Bill cuts Jack off from anyone who might be able to help him and stays a step ahead of him all the way. Unfortunately for Bill, the maintenance terminals that his plan depends upon were taken out as a result of the merger, and Bill demands that Jack find another way to transfer the funds, or watch his family be murdered.

While the basic outline is pedestrian, this picture does have a lot of heart to it; Jack and Beth feel like real people, more or less. They credibly care about each other and Ford and Madsen make us care about them and the children as well. The exploitation of threats to children is kept in the background, though it is trotted out as a possibility now and again in order to keep Jack working according to plan. Except for a brutal hand-to-hand fight at the finale, Ford isn't called upon to be in action hero mode, helping to keep his character in a position where he can connect with the audience. In essence, he's a regular guy who is in extreme circumstances, which usually makes for good storytelling.

One of the intriguing points is how the things that the Stanfields rely upon to protect them are either useless or are turned against them. The crooks take control of their security system and use it to keep them trapped in the house; their cellphones, cloned, are used to keep tabs on them, and their gun ends up being used to frame Jack for murder. Even the family dog nearly gets them killed (though it ends up being helpful in an unexpected way). This tactic helps keep the viewer off balance and makes the horror of home invasion and identity theft even more powerful.

Cybercrime movies usually feature plenty of glitzy graphics and improbable access through firewalls and computer security systems. The computers here, on the other hand, are quite prosaic (as per standard offices, they run on Windows) and the graphics are decidedly unflashy for the most part, keeping a level of verisimilitude usually lacking in such pictures. The suspense level is ratched up to quite a height once the invasion of the Stanfields' home occurs, and it really never lets up after that. There are a couple of plot holes that raise questions—Robert Patrick, playing a security officer from the acquiring bank, demands the police be called to arrest Jack, but they never seem to show up. In fact, Patrick rather unaccountably drops out of the picture altogether at that point, making one wonder if there isn't a deleted scene lying about somwhere. There are a couple little McGyver moments that make one turn a jaundiced eye as well. But these are quibbles. One of the better pictures of its kind, it deserved better than the fairly dismal box office it did on theatrical release. Perhaps it will gain a better following on disc.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.40:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The combo disc features the HD version on one side and the standard definition version on the other. The HD version has a ton of detail, and very little noticeable artifacting or ringing of any kind. Color definition, shadow detail, texture are excellent. There aren't a lot of "wow" moments, but it's quite competently mastered.

The standard definition side is also excellent, though understandably quite a bit softer than the HD version. Grain also tends to be quite sparkly on the SD version in comparison to the HD side, which is quite smoothly rendered. Both source masters are, as one would expect, pristine.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
English, French, Spanishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 Dolby Digital+ track and the standard 5.1 on the SD side both have excellent impact and range. The constant Seattle rain is quite enveloping and often helps reinforce the claustrophobia of the story. Alexandre Desplat's driving score has extreme range, solid bass, and good texture. There's nothing to complain about here.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Superman Returns, Lady in the Water
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Elite
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Firewall Decoded is a chatty 15m:25s discussion with director Richard Loncraine and Harrison Ford, touching on the difficulties of keeping the story believable as well as visually interesting. There are some high-level discussions of matters such as instinctive decisions as opposed to the conscious mind, but they draw back from utter pretension as they near the brink. They touch on the studio's concern with holes in the shooting script with some entertaining stories as well. In Firewall: Writing a Thriller, writer Joe Forte discusses the influence of 9/11 on his thinking as well as his idea to ask a Mossad friend to arrange for him to be kidnaped in order to get into the proper frame of mind. It's tantalizing but all too brief at 3m:16s. Finally, there's a theatrical trailer. All of the extras are in standard definition (and are placed on the SD side, so they're not accessible from the HD version without flipping the disc).

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

A surprisingly effective thriller that plays upon fear of home invasion and identity theft to tighten the screws. The HD side looks flawless, but the standard side looks pretty good too.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


american music awards, talor swift, one direction, jennifer lopez, selena gomez, nicki minaj, justin bieber, movie, the big short, steve carell, ryan gosling, christian bale, michael lewis, brad pitt, music, adele, hello, 19, 21, 25, television, the walking dead, amc, davod alpert, glen, heads up, saturday night live, 25 album, skyfall, nrj awards, graham norton, herbert biberman, john howard lawson, lester cole, ring lardner jr., samuel ornitz, adrian scott, albert maltz, alvah bessie, edward dmytryk, dalton trumbo, reality, american idol, ryan seacrest, mariah carey, ellen degeneres, harry connick jr., keith urban, simon cowell, paula abdul, randy jackson, steven tyler, kara dioguardi, televison, fargo, fx, kirsten dunst, jesse plemons, jean smart, jeffrey donovan, bokeem woodbine, brad garrett, patrick wilson, celebrity, bruce willis, laurie metcalf, misery, broadway debut, paris tragedy, u2, foo fighters, steven spielberg, natalie portman, book, the diary of anne frank, otto frank, swiss foundation, daytime talk, 2000 shows, justin timberlake, jennifer aniston, sequel, animated, finding nemo, finding dory, disney-pixar, diane keaton, eugene levy, inventor, hedy lamarr, google doodle, ecstasy, samson and delilah, bbc music, angelina jolie pitt, by the sea, troubled marriage, mr. & mrs. smith, gwen stefani blake shelton, country music awards, the voice, miranda lambert, jon stewart, john oliver, hbo, wonder woman, nicole kidman, amazonian warrior, gal gadot, chris pine, nick lachey, 98 degrees, pot grower, ohio, nanette lepore, oscar robertson, frostee rucker, the red bulletin, james bond, daniel craig, naomi harris, bond girl, a. o. scott, 1977, star wars, elvis, beatles, sesame street, j.k. rowling, israel, palestine, culture for coexistence, harry potter and the deathly hallows, ricky gergais, 2016 golden globes, hollywood foreign press association, jessica biel, 2015 fashion group international night of stars gala, flip phone, the power of love, huey lewis, michael j. fox, back to the future, carrie, bipolar disorder, quinn, saul, jonas, comedy, lupus, chemotherapy, estrogen, lupus foundation of america

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store