Hostage (Blu-ray Review)

If there were any justice in the world, I’d be able to publish a five-word review for Florent Emilio Siri’s Hostage.  That review would read, “What a piece of crap”.  But– as we all know– there is no justice in the world, and as such, I will now spend the next fifteen to twenty minutes hammering out a review for a crappy, nigh unwatchable, completely useless “action/drama” from a hack-y director.  You will spend the next five to ten minutes (depending on whether or not you move your mouth when you read) reading those thoughts, and in the end, you will probably decide never to watch Florent Emilion Siri’s Hostage.  Huh.  Maybe there is some justice in the world, after all.  


There’s so much crappiness going on in Hostage, it’s hard to know where to start.  Does one single out the film’s odd habit of seemingly dubbing lines at random, even though everyone’s speaking English?  Maybe it’s Ben Foster’s complete failure to appear either “threatening” or “psychotic” in his role as a threatening psychopath.  Wait, no, it’s gotta be the director’s decision (not to mention whoever designed the sets, the guy who actually shot the film, and the propmasters) to make the entire film look like a Hallmark “Movie of The Week”.  Or maybe it’s star Bruce Willis, now faxing in performances after deciding that phoning them in was just too much work.

We could start with any of these things, but I’m going to start with this:  Hostage came out in 2005, you forgot that it even existed, and now someone’s decided to put it on Blu-ray as if any Blu-ray enthusiast was demanding it.  It features terrible acting, the least-thrilling script ever written in service of a “thriller”, and shoddy production values the likes of which you have not seen since your mother’s ill-advised foray into the world of amateur furry porn (yes, we went there:  not just me, but the both of us).  If you buy it– or even if you rent it– you will have wasted your money.  Critiques don’t get any more specific than that, do they?

Basically, Bruce Willis is a hostage negotiator with a troubled past.  We meet him botching a hostage situation all to hell.  Fast-forward, and now Bruce Willis is a sheriff (or a cop or a deputy or whatever-the-hell) in some podunk town somewhere, living with the shame and trying to determine whether or not Cop Out cancels out Pulp Fiction on his IMDB page.  Wait, no, that’s what Bruce Willis is actually doing right now.  In the movie, Bruce Willis is simply living with the shame.  Even if you’ve never seen a trailer for Hostage, you can guess where things go from there.  Furthermore, you can probably guess “where things go from there” all the way through the closing credits:  Florent Emilio Siri is not interested in things like “surprises” or “originality” or “compelling storytelling”, because, well, screw those things.

To say that the film is predictable is an understatement.  Would you believe that Bruce Willis’ character is drawn into an all-new hostage situation, one taking place in the very podunk town he’s decided to settle in after botching the hostage situation at the beginning of the movie?  Would you believe that– yet again– someone’s cast Ben Foster in a role that calls for someone that can project “threatening” and “damaged goods”, and that Foster fails to sell those characteristics?  Wouldja believe that one of the robbers develops feelings for one of the hostages, and that that hostage is a pretty girl?  Would you believe this thing cost $75m to produce, and that it looks worse than a handful of sub-$1m films I’ve seen this year?

Hostage fails to be suspenseful, interesting, original, watchable, entertaining, surprising, or even “so bad it’s good”.  Hostage sucks.  Hard, often, and with gusto.


Yeah, it’s 1080p, and yeah, it’s widescreen, and yeah, it’s in 2.35:1.  If your qualifications for what is “good” and “bad” come down to those three factors, you’re gonna be thrilled with Hostage.  If, however, you prefer the things you watch in all their 1080p, 2.35:1, widescreen glory to be genuinely entertaining (or, barring that, entertainingly awful), you would rather teabag a mason jar filled with battery acid than buy this movie on Blu-ray.  Doesn’t have to be a mason jar, by the way:  could just as easily be a bucket.


Hostage is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1.  If you’ve got a sweet surround-sound setup, an awesome TV, and a subwoofer that’d blow the doors off every tent at Burning Man (assuming that tents at Burning Man have doors, which I think we can all agree they do not), then you will still not care that Hostage sounds pretty good, because– as previously noted– Hostage sucks.

Special Features 

Oh, boy, a commentary!  I wonder if it’ll be as boring, flat, lifeless, and wildly unoriginal as the film itself (hint: yes)!  Oh, boy:  something called “Taking Hostage: Behind The Scenes”, a title which doesn’t make complete sense if you stop to think about it for more than three seconds– I bet that’s good (hint: no)!  Oh, boy, extended scenes with audio commentary, because you simply couldn’t get enough Hostage during its unbearable 113m runtime!  Oh, boy, deleted scenes!  With audio commentary!  Scenes that weren’t good enough to be included with all the scenes that Siri thought were worth including, the very same scenes we’ve just determined to be massively sucky– those must be a hoot (hint: they are not)!  What an embarrassment of riches this package is!  Two-star riches, all the way around!  Exclamation points!

Final Thoughts 

There’s a reason that Hostage came out six years ago, disappeared immediately, and was utterly forgotten until now.  Please, let’s not remember that Hostage existed in the first place:  do not purchase Hostage, rent (ironically or seriously) Hostage, watch Hostage, skim through Hostage, or be in the same home where Hostage is playing.  Ever.  You’ll never get that time back.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a meeting with my lawyer (just a lawsuit I’m filing against WhySoBlu.com and director Florent Siri, no biggie) that I need to get to.

Order Hostage on Blu-ray!


2 Responses to “Hostage (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    Wait! I thought you liked this film? LOL

    I never saw this one and now I know I never will!

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    Brian, I could see you digging this flick. It’s not that bad.