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By Bret McCabe | Posted 3/16/2005

Following leads set by Assault on Precinct 13 remaker Jean-François Richet and the gangbuster modern B-flicks of Andrzej Bartkowiak, Hostage proves once and for all that if you want a solid, old-fashioned American actioner, hire a foreigner. Italian Florent Emilio Siri helms this adaptation of crime-fiction workhorse Robert Crais' novel of the same name, and Siri's video-game background gives it a steely tautness and the best title credits in years. Former Los Angeles SWAT negotiator Jeff Talley (Bruce Willis) absconds to the quiet life as police chief of a Ventura County hamlet after the usual assignment gone bad. And, naturally, his world is about to get royally screwed when some young petty criminals decide to hassle the wrong rich accountant (Kevin Pollak), who cooks books for some kind of totally not-fucking-around organized crime syndicate. These hooded and heavily armed baddies contact Talley and force him to do their bidding after nabbing his estranged wife and daughter. Siri discloses plot points like a high-stakes baccarat dealer, each turn butt-clenchingly upping the stakes, and all you have to do is wait until Talley gets pushed so far, until he inevitably becomes Bruce fucking Willis, renegade hard-ass. Hostage delivers genre by the numbers with gusto.

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