‘Hostage’ not an ordinary action flick

By Johnathan Kroncke

By Johnathan Kroncke

Complete with merciless killing, sub-plots, and one very expensive security system, “Hostage” is no ordinary action flick.

Bruce Willis completely commands the screen in his latest thriller as Jeff Talley, an emotionally disturbed former police negotiator. Unlike most characters in action movies who are mostly one dimensional, Talley is a broken man who wishes for nothing more than to lead a quiet life. Unfortunately, he cannot escape the haunting memories of the life he once lead.

Coupled with Willis’ emotionally gripping performance as well as interesting story-telling, “Hostage” has set a precedent for all action movies to come. There were no buddy cops, no ridiculous stunts and no outlandish antics by police officers as is usually the case with action movies. Instead, this movie is driven by an intense plot and Willis’ stellar acting.

Unable to overcome the guilt and pain of allowing a child to be killed during a hostage negotiation, Talley retreats to a rich suburb of Los Angeles where he becomes head of a small sheriff’s department. However, leaving behind the big city does not mean escaping big problems.

Talley is first on the scene when three troublemaking teenagers decide to murder a cop and hold a wealthy man and his two children hostage. Talley holds down the fort until his team is relieved by their commanding officers from Los Angeles.

All is well as Talley heads home to patch things up with his estranged wife until a gun is pointed into his back and a menacing voice tells him to return to the hostage scene and make sure no one goes in or out of the house until his men get there.

Thrust back into a life he thought he had left behind, Talley must now fight time, his fellow police officers and three stupid hostage takers in order to save the lives of both the rich family as well as his own.

While “Hostage” is a mostly captivating and emotional drama, there are a few aspects that viewers could have definitely done without. For example, Mars, the eldest of the hostage takers turns out to be a sadistic murderer who sexually harasses the daughter of the wealthy hostage. His fragile mind warped at a young age, Mars takes pleasure in watching people die but does little more than kill the intensity and believability of this movie.

The only other threat to the realistic feel of “Hostage” was the arrival of the kidnappers of Talley’s family. Originally hidden in shadow, away from the main story, the professional kidnappers boldly pose as F.B.I. agents in order to gain access to the house and a DVD which contains records of illegal financial dealings.

Without the convoluted nature of this sub-plot and the idiocy of Mars, “Hostage” would have been far more believable and much more enjoyable. Seeing an emotionally broken hostage negotiator being forced back into the type of situation that damaged him would have been satisfying enough. As it stands, “Hostage” is still an interesting new take on action flicks with one of Willis’ most powerful performances.