Former Los Angeles hostage negotiator Jeff Tally finds his newly quiet existence shattered when a family linked to the mob is taken hostage by wayward thieves, one of whom is a serial killer.

Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”

Though more gritty than most mainstream studio films get these days, Bruce Willis’s latest thriller is otherwise completely conventional. Seen “The Negotiator”? “Panic Room”? “John Q”? A thousand other films like them? Then you’ve seen this one already. It does nothing new and breaks absolutely no ground, going through the usual paces with its double-kidnapping storyline about the idiot police force, the desperate hostages, the smug villains, and the everyman cop caught in the middle. It feels like the four hundredth sequel to “Die Hard” and not just because Willis is the star. He plumbs some unexpected depths of emotion as his usual wounded tough guy, and I have to mention the freshness of the duotone, animated opening credits (they play like deleted scenes from Willis’s “Sin City”), but otherwise this film just a paycheck to everyone involved and a waste of time for the audience. There are better thrillers out there.

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