Hostage is about Jeff Talley, a former S.W.A.T. leader and hostage negotiator with the Los Angeles Police Department turned small town cop after a job goes bad. If you are making a film about a cop who is down on their luck, who has to star in your movie? That’s right, Bruce Willis, and that is just the case here. So sergeant John McClane, er I mean Jeff Talley, takes a position as Chief of a small uppity low crime California city. During a routine “low crime Monday” a trio kids from out of town decide to break into local rich man Walter Smith’s house to steal his car. Of course the kids are inept, the silent alarm goes off and the cops show up. Being inept white trash, they take the family hostage and the loose cannon of the three kills the first cop on the scene. Enter John McClain, er Jeff Talley. As a down on his luck cop with a failing marriage and a kid who hates him, Talley is quick to push the hostage situation onto the local Sheriff’s department since his department would have a hard time taking down a donut shop. Now what no one realizes is that Walter Smith is an accountant for the mob, and is scheduled to make a delivery to them later that night. The mob, apparently not having any stroke with the local sheriff decides to take Talley’s family hostage and force him to save the Smith family following their rules to save his own family.
If that sounds overly complicated, that’s the case because, well it is! The setup for this movie is overly drawn out and yet completely obvious at the same time. Ironically enough, with all the setup this movie has to go through, the resolution just falls flat. McClain, er Tally, saves both the Smith family and his own, but does so in his own rebellious super cop way. We’re also to assume he re-finds the passion or drive as a cop that he once had while working for the L.A.P.D. If you think that is a spoiler, you are an idiot because you could have gotten that out of using a little common sense and reading the back of the DVD.
This movie is based on a novel by Robert Crais that I haven’t read and probably never will. One thing of note about this fairly unremarkable movie is the opening credits. Maybe the credit style was true to elements of the book, or maybe they were suffering from a lack of originality. If you were watching the opening credits, you might think you were watching a far superior movie where Bruce Willis plays another down on his luck cop, Sin City. While the opening credits / title sequence wasn’t a direct rip off, it certainly felt very reminiscent. This problem is only exacerbated by the fact that the very first thing you see when you pop this disc in your DVD player is a preview for the DVD of Sin City. Go figure.
If you like Bruce Willis or just want to watch a fairly run of the mill action flick and have a couple of hours to really suspend your disbelief, check this movie out. Or maybe you could grab Die Hard, The Last Boy Scout, and Striking Distance, put them in a disc changer, hit shuffle and call it good enough – because you probably won’t see anything you haven’t already seen before – except maybe Bruce Willis with a shaggy beard for the first five minutes of the film. Worth a rent, sure – worth buying? Well, it’s better than Hudson Hawk.