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Hold yourself ‘Hostage’ from latest Willis stinker

Chris Hewitt St. Paul Pioneer Press

Comedian Sandra Bernhard does a hilarious impersonation of self-involved supermodel Naomi Campbell’s reaction to the death of Gianni Versace, saying, “It’s been a terrible thing – for me.”

That bit kept going through my head during the unpleasant “Hostage,” in which we see women and children get mowed down not because we’re supposed to care about them but because we’re supposed to see that it’s a terrible thing – for Bruce Willis.

Willis plays a grizzled hostage negotiator who makes a big mistake in the first scene – an entire family gets slaughtered – but he’s really bummed about it, so the rest of the movie gives him a chance to redeem himself.

Redemption comes when – and I’m sure this is the sort of thing that happens all the time to grizzled hostage negotiators – he simultaneously tries to free his wife and child, who’ve been kidnapped by one group of anonymous villains, and two other children, who are being held hostage by a group of skanky teens.

I count at least three annoying things in that last sentence. The coincidence of the dual hostage crises is ridiculous, especially since the movie’s chaotic structure can’t keep them straight.

It’s reprehensible that the movie gets its thrills from repeatedly roughing up children (Why not give them cancer, too? Or have someone kill their dog?). And it’s idiotic that, despite all those people in jeopardy, the film’s focus remains firmly on Willis, whose current attitude toward action movies must be, “I’ll do them, but only if I get some crying scenes.”

There are four of them here.

It’s a tossup whether the crying jags are inspired by this jumbled script or by the fact that Willis has made six dreadful movies in a row. Either way, don’t go see “Hostage.” If you do, it’ll be a terrible thing – for you.

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