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Hostage (2005) alternate movie poster

Hostage is a 2005 American action thriller - crime drama film 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 Die Hard 2 and Money Train scribe Doug Richardson.

The film's plot is roughly the same as the novel; the main difference is that a complicated subplot involving the Mafia was removed and the ages of the first group of hostage-takers was lowered slightly. In the novel, Smith's employer is Sonny Benza, a crime overlord whose influence reaches throughout the entire West Coast.

Movie Plot Summary[]

Former SWAT officer Jeff Talley is a hostage negotiator in Los Angeles. Talley is negotiating with a man who has taken his wife and son hostage after learning she has been cheating on him. Talley denies a SWAT commander's request to give snipers the green light to take out the suspect. There are three gunshots in the house. Talley runs through the barricaded door and finds the man and his wife dead. In the boy's room he finds the son, who passes away in Talley's arms. This leaves Talley emotionally scarred. He moves with his family to become police chief in Bristo Camino, a peaceful suburban hamlet in Ventura County, California.

A year after the incident, Talley finds himself in another hostage situation. Two teenagers, Dennis and his brother Kevin, and their mysterious accomplice Marshall "Mars" Krupcheck take hostage Walter Smith and his two children, a teenager Jennifer and a young child Tommy, in Smith's house after a failed robbery attempt. The first officer to respond, Carol Flores, is brutally shot twice by Mars just before Talley and a fellow officer arrive. Talley attempts to rescue the seriously injured officer, who dies in front of him. Traumatized and unwilling to put himself through yet another life-or-death situation, Talley hands authority over to the Ventura County Sheriff's Department and leaves.

Smith has been laundering money for a mysterious 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 protect such incriminating evidence from discovery, the syndicate orders someone known only as the Watchman to kidnap Talley's wife and daughter. Talley is told to return to the hostage scene and stall for time until the organization can launch its own attack against Smith's house.

Dennis has his partners Mars and Kevin tie up the kids. Dennis pistol-whips Walter, knocking him out, then 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 the money. When the helicopter arrives, Dennis and Kevin bring the money to Talley in the courtyard and prepare to leave, but Mars refuses to leave without Jennifer. Talley tries to get the boys to leave Jennifer and walk away, but he says that the helicopter will only carry three additional people, and insists that Jennifer stay behind. The deal breaks down as the boys return to the house. Talley tells the chopper to stand down and he exits the courtyard.

Kevin is upset that his older brother picked Mars over him and confronts Dennis, demanding he make a decision: it's either him or Mars. Dennis picks the money and Kevin is even more upset so he grabs the bags full of money and empties them onto the floor, so Dennis punches him. Thomas escapes, grabs his father's gun and talks to Talley on Jennifer's cell phone.

Talley learns that Mars is a killer, who could turn on the hostages and his own accomplices at any moment. Mars does, in fact, kill Kevin, just when Kevin is about to release the kids to the police. Dennis comes to Kevin's side and assumes the cops killed him. Mars then shoots Dennis. The brothers die in each other's arms.

The syndicate sends fake FBI agents to recover the DVD and they storm the house. Mars is stabbed in the cheek by Jennifer. She and her brother flee. They lock themselves in the house's panic room. Talley hears the children screaming as they flee.

Mars throws a Molotov Cocktail at Talley, destroying his patrol car. Mars begins to kill the majority of the fake FBI agents using his pistol and multiple Molotov Cocktails, but is shot in the side by the only surviving agent. The agent tracks down Talley and the children, demanding to be given the encrypted DVD. Talley gives him the DVD. Mars reappears, distracting the agent long enough to be killed by Talley.

Mars prepares to throw the last bomb and kill everyone in the room. He collapses to his knees, weakened by the wounds in his torso and blood loss. He makes eye contact with Jennifer, with whom he was apparently infatuated, then drops the Molotov Cocktail. Mars dies, setting himself on fire and vanishing in a pillar of flame.

Talley evacuates the hostages. He and Walter Smith then go to the inn where Talley's wife and daughter are being held hostage by the Watchman and other masked men. Smith, set free by Talley and grateful for his own family being saved, shoots the Watchman in the head. This allows Talley to kill the other masked gunmen. Talley's family is safe.

Cast of Characters[]


  • 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


Some critics found the film to be rather gripping while others found it to be another forgettable seen-it-before crime thriller. Critics praised Bruce Willis' performance and how he didn't just play another role akin to his John McClane character. Others however did cite that the film itself wasn't much of a stretch for Willis' career and fans of the Robert Crais novel also varied on how well the film adapted the source material.