I watched Harrison Ford's Firewall on DVD on Tuesday. It is an interesting and engaging thriller. Jack Stanfield is an IT security expert in a Seattle bank, and his family has been kidnapped. The kidnappers wanted 100 million dollars transferred to his off-shore account, and need Jack to get "behind the firewall" to activate the transfer. Now he has to find a way to pay for the ransom, and protect the asset of the bank he worked for.
I got pretty excited after 10 minutes into the film, where Jack Stanfield walked into his security department and tried to help out one of his staffs to slow down the hacking activities. He sat down in front of this un*x box with Ethereal running in the background, logged into the Csico router via a text terminal and started adding access list rules denying the entire class-C address!! That really got me excited about what else would be happening in the rest of this movie! Too bad that was the only highlight, and later on he even crashed the network of the entire building by executing a virus/worm from his Outlook-running Windows PC. IT security expert didn't even firewall his own computer?
There were actually some top notch acting in "Firewall" -- but they do have A-class actors. Harrison Ford is way too old for any fast moving action, but I wasn't expecting Han Solo or Indiana Jones anyway. Paul Bettany is just so good at being a ruthless villain, and Virginia Madsen made a great role as the calm mother. Story is pretty packed but a bit ordinary. Ending is weak like many other thriller movies -- police arrived on time just after hero of the day saved everyone he loved.
Many holes in the plot though makes the overall story unconvincing. One reason Paul Bettany failed his mission to rob the bank was because he killed 2 out of 4 of his sidekicks. IT security expert uses 4-letter name of his boat as password? Fax machine scan head + iPod Mini + OCR to read out screen dump of account numbers is ingenious but still far-fetched. At the end it was a GPS-equipped barking dog and super long battry life, dodgy-looking notebook with hyper-extended range wireless access that saved the day.
And have I mentioned that virus executed on security expert's Windows PC crashed the entire network of a bank? Huh?!
Enjoyable movie if you like Harrison Ford and/or into IT security, or just like to look at racks and racks of servers in the data centre. Otherwise you won't miss out much if you skip it.