Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Detroit Free Press:
Strictly by the book: It's adapted from an airport best-seller by Robert Crais, and its scenes might as well be preceded with chapter headings.
The movie doesn't spend much time on details or characterization, especially of its nonessential female characters (which is to say all of them).
Explosions, gunfights and suspense may keep you awake for a while, but not if the movie assaults logic and holds common sense hostage.
A well-intended but perfunctorily overblown feature produced by and starring Bruce Willis, whose emotionally raw performance is the film's saving grace.
Speaking of torture, if you dig it, by all means lock yourself up for two hours with Hostage, which begins by administering electric shocks to your viscera and keeps upping the voltage.
Ebert & Roeper:
I thought, this is going to be a first-rate thriller, nobody plays that kind of character better than Bruce Willis, he's great at that. And then it just gets more and more complicated and more and more ridiculous.
The script is clever without ever being smart, the violence is showy but not cathartic, and the performances are, to put it kindly, a mixed bag.
Los Angeles Times:
Made with energetic flair and no small dose of violence, mercifully handled with discretion, Hostage exemplifies taut, confident filmmaking.
Doug Richardson's script is as riddled with plot holes as Pollak's house is with bullets.
For action movie fans who require just a touch of depth and mystery between gunshots, Hostage could make for a satisfying night at the movies.
An interesting French action pic fights gallantly for dominance over a bulging, American-style shoot-'em-up.
Dallas Morning News:
Inevitably, the action has to take over, and the film devolves into a frenzy of fireballs and automatic gunfire.
When it's over, you just want to make sure the vise that's been squeezing your head for more than two hours didn't leave any dents or scratches.
New York Daily News:
Beyond the cliches, there's something deeply offensive about the way Hostage exploits our empathy for children in peril.
New York Times:
A pile of blood-soaked toxic waste dumped onto the screen in an attempt to salvage Bruce Willis's fading career as an action hero.
Accept Hostage for what it is, and a flawed-but-enjoyable ride awaits. I never once glanced at my watch.
Bruce Willis, who feels like a resident of action thrillers, not a visitor, dials down here into a man of fierce focus and private motives.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Willis plays a man with a past whose nightmare returns when a hostage drama reopens old wounds, blah, blah, blah...
Globe and Mail:
The subplots are stacked up and nesting into each other like so many Russian dolls, and seeming every bit as precious.
This is, in the final analysis, just another Bruce Willis Movie, albeit one that makes us think a bit more than usual and maybe hope a little harder that all those bullets and explosions will be put to good use.
It can never quite make that final leap over its formula.
As the story further ramps up the complications, poor plot mechanics run pic off the road.
By the time Willis's character saves this considerably long day, it's filmgoers who will no doubt feel like prisoners.