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Hostage

This well-made thriller harkens back to the gritty crime films of the 1970s. Bruce Willis plays Jeff Talley, a traumatized ex-LAPD hostage negotiator whose new career as small town sheriff doesn't turn out to be as restful as he had hoped; a hostage situation breaks out on "low crime Tuesday" and he is thrown right back into the business he knows all too well. Some punk kids have shot a cop and are holed up in a local mansion inhabited by crooked accountant Walter Smith (Kevin Pollack), his two kids, and a lot of surveillance cameras. Walter's young son (Jimmy Bennett) escapes his bonds and reports to Talley from the air shafts via his sister's cell phone. The sister--a Goth teen played by Michelle Horn--draws the romantic attention of Mars (Ben Foster), the pot-addled sociopath in the gang, thus adding a unique twist to the damsel-in-distress factor. Meanwhile, amid the buzzing helicopters and mobilizing S.W.A.T. teams, another group of bad guys has kidnapped Talley's wife and daughter, in order to force him to retrieve a secret disc in Walter's study. Florent Siri's efficient direction keeps the action flowing in unexpected directions while allowing for plenty of interesting procedural details and sly bits of humor. The score is ominous and the performances are strong, with Foster memorably creepy and Willis excellent as the frightened hero.
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