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(Review originally written at 14 October 2007)

In its core the movie had some more potential. It shows that the movie had potential to begin with because it has Russell Crowe in it. This guy had accepted every role he wanted after his "Gladiator" role and picked this movie as his next project. No doubt that he'd later regretted this, though it didn't harmed his future career. And he of course got to be with Meg Ryan for a while. They fell in love during the making of the movie and Ryan left long-time partner and husband Dennis Quaid for Crowe. The romance eventually didn't lasted long however. The romance between the two main leads had always overshadowed this actually movie, in terms of publicity. Guess this also harmed the movie and was one of the reasons bombed at the box-office and didn't really received any raving critiques. People of course also expected more from the next Russell Crowe movie and were eager to see him act with Meg Ryan. But they might had fallen in love in real-life but this really didn't show on the screen. There wasn't any chemistry between them, which made the romance in the movie seemed all the more ridicules and redundant.

This is the sort of movie that tries to be more and more layered than just another average action flick. To simplify things; It tried to be he Michael Mann type of realistic and political orientated action movies (perhaps also a reason why Russell Crowe decided to be in this movie?). The sort of movies that are being made in abundance these days, with "The Kingdom, not as the best but most recent example. So yes maybe this movie was made a couple of years too early but that still changes nothing about the lacking quality and storytelling of the movie.

It's not just the storytelling that makes the actual story come across as bad and poorly done but it also is the actual story itself. It begins slow, than it turns into a more romantic kind of flick and then it suddenly ends in a pure hard action movie way. Yes, they even managed to put in a love-story in the movie. Why, oh why? This rarely ever works out in these sort of movies. As a matter of fact having a female lead rarely ever works out in these sort of movies. The cutting back and forward between the hostage taken husband (David Morse) and the wife (Meg Ryan) who is negotiating his release at home really doesn't work out, since the two things really don't seem to be occurring in the same time-line. It's lacking some good continuity and maybe also pace at time.

Despite it's good intentions, the movie is lacking in basically everything. It certainly is not clever or original enough to consider this a good realistic type of movie and it's lacking too much in action to consider this purely a action-flick. The dialog is overlong and it often takes too long before something good or interesting is occurring on the screen again. Not that this movie and all of it in it is that bad but it's just lacking on basically all levels to consider this a successful attempt from director Taylor Hackford and other involved.

Still it are the actors that still make this movie worthwhile. Russell Crowe is solid as always and also Meg Ryan did a good job. It further more featured David Morse in a rather big role (for his standards), from the period when he still seemed to be appearing in basically every new big movie. Surprisingly the movie further more also features some fine actors such as David Caruso, Pamela Reed, Anthony Heald, Alun Armstrong and Michael Kitchen, among others. Again, I think this shows that the movie showed more potential to begin with, or else there would had been no way that so many fine and respected popular actors agreed to be in this movie.

Maybe worth watching just once but even so, the movie still remains a very forgettable and unsuccessful-, understandably failed attempt.

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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