Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Florent Emilio Siri|
|Written by||Doug Richardson|
by Robert Crais
|Music by||Alexandre Desplat|
|Cinematography||Giovanni Fiore Coltellacci|
|Edited by||Richard Byard
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
|Box office||$77.9 million|
Hostage is a 2005 American action thriller drama film produced by and starring Bruce Willis and directed by Florent Emilio Siri. The film was based on a novel by Robert Crais, and was adapted for the screen by Doug Richardson.
The film earned mixed to negative reviews and was not a financial success on its original release, earning only slightly more than its production costs.
Former SWAT officer Jeff Talley is a hostage negotiator in Los Angeles. One day, Talley negotiates with a man who has taken his wife and son hostage after learning his wife was cheating on him. Shortly after Talley denies a SWAT commander's request to give snipers the order to open fire, the despondent man kills his wife, son, and himself. Traumatized, Talley moves with his family and becomes police chief in Bristo Camino, a suburban hamlet in Ventura County, California.
A year later, Talley finds himself in another hostage situation. Two teenagers, Dennis and his brother Kevin, and their accomplice Marshall "Mars" Krupcheck take hostage Walter Smith and his two children, teenage Jennifer and young Tommy, in Smith's house after a failed robbery attempt. The first officer to respond is shot twice by Mars just before Talley arrives. Talley attempts to rescue the officer, but she dies in front of him. Traumatized and unwilling to put himself through another trauma, Talley hands authority over to the Ventura County Sheriff's Department and leaves.
Smith has been laundering money for a mysterious right-wing militia and criminal syndicate through offshore shell corporations. He was preparing to turn over a batch of important encrypted files recorded on a DVD when he was taken hostage. To prevent the incriminating evidence from being discovered, the syndicate orders someone known only as the Watchman to kidnap Talley's wife and daughter. Talley is instructed to return to the hostage scene, regain authority, and stall for time until the organization can launch its own attack against Smith's house.
Dennis forces Kevin and Mars to tie up the children, while he knocks out Smith and finds a large amount of cash. In an attempt to end the standoff and secure the DVDs himself, Talley meets with Dennis and agrees to provide a helicopter in exchange for half of the money. When the helicopter arrives, Dennis and Kevin bring the money to Talley and prepare to leave, but Mars refuses to leave without Jennifer, with whom he has become infatuated. Talley says the helicopter will only carry three additional people and insists that Jennifer stay behind, but the deal breaks down and the boys return to the house. Talley learns that Mars is a psychopathic killer who could turn on the hostages and his own accomplices at any moment. Mars does, in fact, kill Dennis and Kevin, just as Kevin is about to release the children.
The syndicate sends fake FBI agents to recover the DVD and they storm the house; Talley is instructed to not go near the house. Jennifer stabs Mars and locks herself and Thomas in the panic room. Hearing their screams, Talley breaches the house and is attacked by Mars, who then kills most of the fake agents using his pistol and multiple Molotov cocktails. Mars is then shot in the side by the only surviving agent. The agent tracks down Talley and the children, and demands the encrypted DVD. After Talley gives him the DVD, Mars reappears, distracting the agent long enough to be killed by Talley. Mars then prepares to throw his last Molotov, but collapses to his knees, weakened by his injuries. He makes eye contact with Jennifer, then drops the Molotov and immolates himself.
Talley escapes with the children by shooting the indoor glass waterfall, which extinguishes the fire. He and a recovered Smith then go to a rundown inn where Talley's wife and daughter are being held captive by the Watchman and his crew. Smith, feigning hatred for Talley, is freed in exchange for the family. While demanding that the Watchman kill Talley, Smith shoots the Watchman. This allows Talley to kill the other gunmen and rescue his family.
- Bruce Willis as Police Chief Jeff Talley
- Kevin Pollak as Walter Smith
- Jimmy Bennett as Tommy Smith
- Michelle Horn as Jennifer Smith
- Ben Foster as Marshall "Mars" Krupcheck
- Jonathan Tucker as Dennis Kelly
- Marshall Allman as Kevin Kelly
- Serena Scott Thomas as Jane Talley
- Rumer Willis as Amanda Talley
- Kim Coates as The Watchman
- Robert Knepper as Wil Bechler
- Tina Lifford as Deputy Sheriff Laura Shoemaker
- Ransford Doherty as Officer Mike Anders
- Marjean Holden as Officer Carol Flores
- Michael D. Roberts as Bob Ridley
- Art LaFleur as Bill Jorgenson
- Keith Hines as Simmons
- Randy McPherson as Kovak
- Hector Luis Bustamante as Officer Ruiz
- Kathryn Joosten as Louise
- Johnny Messner as Mr. Jones
- Glenn Morshower as Lt. Leifitz
- Jamie McShane as Joe Mack
- Jimmy Pinchak as Sean Mack
- Chad Smith as Bobby Knox
The film's plot is roughly the same as Crais's novel. The main difference is that the novel's complicated subplot involving powerful West Coast Mafia crime lord Sonny Benza was removed, with the film giving little explanation of Walter Smith's criminal associates. The film also makes the first group of hostage-takers somewhat younger in age than depicted in the novel. In addition, the criminal syndicate in the film were portrayed as domestic right-wing extremists rather than a Mafia.
Filming took place in the Malibu area (in western Los Angeles County). The exterior views of Smith's lavishly appointed house were filmed at a real house in the unincorporated Topanga Canyon area, between Malibu and Los Angeles; the interior scenes were done on sound stages in Hollywood.
The character Mars, played by Ben Foster, was modeled after Bay Area rap artist Mars by Robert Crais after a friend Dennis Bsharah urged him to look into the horrorcore genre. In the movie adaptation, Foster strongly resembles the rapper. Jonathan Tucker's name was later changed to Dennis.
Critical response 
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The film earned $34,639,939 at the box office in the United States and a total international gross of $77,944,725.
Home media 
Hostage was released on DVD June 21, 2005.
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- "Hostage". Amazon.com.