There are, in fact, many hostages who go rogue in Rogue Hostage, a deeply disposable thriller set almost entirely in one location. This is another one of those movies about a capable military man facing down a terrorist and saving nearly everyone in the process, and if people are angry that this review has spoiled something in only its second sentence, well, consider why one watches a movie like this in the first place. Screenwriter Mickey Solis, though, is giving us the barest of the bare minimum, even for a movie as simple as this one. The fact of the matter is, however, that there isn’t much to do with a hostage situation in a department store.

Some of the climax of the film, in which the hero and a few others fight back, sees the various tools in one part of the store become weapons, but there is not nearly enough of this of which to speak. That removes a lot of the sense of enjoyment one might have from a setting like this one, which leaves the rest of the set-up to suffice. It’s safe to say that it doesn’t. In terms of the characters, we are given types and not much else. Kyle (Tyrese Gibson) is a veteran who is dealing with the trauma of combat and the sudden departure of his wife. He has a daughter and a solid job in Child Protective Services, but he also kind of hates his stepfather Sam Nelson (John Malkovich) for no reason that services the plot in any important way.

It’s the opening day of a new store location for Sam’s big-wig retail company, but Eagan (Chris Backus) has different plans for everyone. He has a bone to pick with Sam, wiring the doors and himself with explosives until he gets what he wants – a confession on Sam’s part for a past injustice sent to the news, that will essentially destroy the company. Kyle, meanwhile, puts his military past to use, picking off Eagan’s minions – including an inside man with the store, whose reconnaissance helped Eagan to know the layout and identities of the workers – and avenging any deaths that occur over the course of this eventful day.

That gives us other characters, such as Sam’s bodyguard Sparks (Michael Jai White), Kyle’s work partner Clove (Brandi Bravo), store manager Sunshine (Luna Lauren Velez), Sunshine’s wife Rainey (Fedna Jacquet), and some others that are hard to distinguish from each other. We eventually learn that Eagan has a connection to someone else in this store, but mostly, the movie is comprised of a lot of pedestrian scenes of hand-to-hand combat, directed with no style or grace by Jon Keeyes. It’s also basically a showcase for a lot of abrasive hate speech, because, in addition to wanting something to be accomplished here, Eagan and his men are white nationalist domestic terrorists. Nothing is done with this concept, other than providing the characters a reason to fear the men even more than they already do.

Rogue Hostage is not a good movie. The performances are almost stubbornly imprecise, with Gibson barely committing to the minimal material he’s been given with this character and Malkovich looking bewildered in his every appearance onscreen. The details of the plot are so thoroughly familiar that one could create a fully completed checklist of expected developments before viewing and not have to make any adjustments afterward. The whole enterprise, really, is a wasteful one.

One could create a fully completed checklist of expected developments before viewing and not have to make any adjustments afterward.
20 %
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