I was quite surprised that Massive Attack's Angel was chosen to accompany the opening credits, which consisted for mostly CCTV / voyeuristic shots of a team conducting surveillance on the movements of Harrison Ford's Jack Stanfield and his family. I know it's a cool track, but Angel is perhaps becoming one of the more overused tracks in Hollywood pictures already.
But it hints well at what Firewall is going to become. Cliche and overused sequences which will probably make you scream "haven't I seen this somewhere before"? Firewall offered nothing very new in terms of plot outline, as it contains modified scenes from even Ford's own works like Air Force One (the family's survival being threatened, and it's up to one man to save the day) and The Fugitive (the frame up and one man's run from the law). Ford has already become comfortable in the role of an all-American one man hero, that this role offered no surprises at all.
It's basically standard fare with the usual chases and action fight sequences. Stansfield is a VP of (network) security of a bank, and has designed the bank's software, with other operational duties like making sure the bank can respond to external online threats. However, as the saying goes, almost 80% of intrusion are committed knowingly or unknowingly from the inside, and with a head honcho part of the act, you can be sure that he has the know-how to siphon out cash if he wants to.
In comes Bill Cox (Paul Bettany), scheming con man, who with his team of merry men, take Stanfield's family hostage and lapses into the usual psycho-mumbo-jumbo routine. With the family's antics at escaping, you really wonder if Cox, as a villain, has what it takes to call the shots in a hostage situation. While he might have the upper hand, it's his weakness in being ruthless to the hostages that proved his downfall, and make him a very weak cinematic villain. Here's someone who would rather shoot at his own men than to teach them hostages a lesson. Probably he has this noble subscription to "women and children first". And it doesn't help when there's the usual good guy amongst his merry men who offers the family sympathy points.
Word of caution though, for those who might think that this film offers some cool technology on screen. Leave the techno-babble at the door, there's no "firewall" to hack into in the first place, and the "hacking" is actually a no-brainer. And unless the USA offers wireless internet access like everywhere, it's pretty incredible with what a laptop can do in the movie.
It has your expected twists and seemingly smart moments, but nothing that will truly make you go "wow". The fist fight choreography can get pretty intense, however, there's no need to reach the end of the road before you know who's gonna emerge tops. It isn't exactly a bad movie, but one which doesn't even have a single sequence that can redeem this picture from really bad mediocrity.