Harrison Ford has built a career playing strong everyman types, laughing in the face of danger and ensuring that good always prevails over evil. In Firewall, he plays—you guessed it—an average Joe fighting to save his family from bad guys who threaten to unleash domestic chaos. Working as a top computer security executive at Landrock Pacific Bank, Jack Stanfield (Ford) designs high-tech anti-theft software to keep criminals from hitting the jackpot during robberies. The system is completely foolproof and perfectly protected, which gives a group of baddies headed by Bill Cox (Paul Bettany), a prime ‘eureka!’ moment: they will stalk Jack and follow his every word and movement for a year, so they can break the codes by using him as a pawn.
They learn everything there is to know by following him around, monitoring his computer access, and learning secrets about his family. One evening while he is at a business meeting, his stalkers break into his upscale ocean-front home and seize his wife Beth (Virginia Madsen), daughter Sarah (Carly Schroeder), and son Andrew (Jimmy Bennett). Instead of taking them captive to a far away place, they decide to camp out at their home and hold an informal slumber party with guns. But there is no time for cheese dip or pillow fights; these guys mean business.
Jack quickly finds himself in an undesirable situation. The lunatics refuse to leave his house unless he finds a way to break into the accounts and steal $100 million from his company's richest clients, even if there is no surefire way inside the system. They end up making him go to work wearing a camera pen and wires tucked underneath his business suit, so they can ensure that he uses the better part of the work day trying to get them their cash.
Firewall isn’t winning any awards with its original premise, and it has plot holes the size of the Atlantic Ocean. The script gets progressively more implausible and ridiculous with each new chapter. Jack continuously disobeys Bill and tries to screw up his plans, even while his family is trapped at home with guns pointing at their foreheads. There is nothing logical or honorable in trying to play hero and save a bank over your own family. Bill on the other hand, comes up with a clever blackmailing plan, but seems clueless about what to do when even the slightest obstacle arises. He threatens to kill Jack’s family many times, but only ends up killing some of his own men.
The movie becomes a cat-and-mouse chase through a series of B-list action segments (yes, there are several car chases), and ultimately collides into a dead end wall of immeasurable stupidity. Ford growls his lines like an aged grizzly bear, and thanks to Joe Forte’s absurd script, his dramatic lines only invoke laughter. Virginia Madsen, fresh off her success from Sideways, is reduced to a vacant chirpy housewife role which demands none of her skills.
The nail in the coffin for Firewall is its unapologetic string of product placements. It seems obvious that there was a bidding war for corporate sponsorship during production. Throughout the story, an Ipod, camera phone, and computerized dog collar help save the day. The moral of this story is that if you don’t have fancy gadgets, you may as well accept your doomed fate.