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Hot Seat takes an always risky premise and places it in the IT world. Friar (Kevin Dillon) is an ex-hacker who now works in cybersecurity. A hair trigger bomb has been placed under his chair and he must help the unseen culprit steal digital funds online. As if the bomb was not incentive enough, Friar’s daughter will be abducted if he does not comply. Bomb expert Wallace Reed (Mel Gibson) arrives to resolve the situation.
The idea is a popular one that is theoretically filled with tension. However, if one thing is off, it can ruin the enjoyment of the entire movie. Potentially, the main issue can be found in the film’s title. Obviously, the ticking bomb is going to play a big part. Dealing with the issue too early can relieve any suspense in Hot Seat. Waiting too long can make things tedious.
Regrettably, the story is unable to keep up the anxiety over the course of its entire runtime. More inconsistent than bad, Hot Seat never succeeds with the things it absolutely needs to. For example, despite a strong performance from Dillon, the film lacks a sense of urgency. Too many scenes filled with verbal sparring or keyboard mashing slow things down and ruin immersion.
What makes this more disappointing is Hot Seat does a lot to tease audiences. There are a number of moments when it seems to have turned the corner and become a competent thriller. But just when it looks like things are coming together, a nonsensical twist or predictable reveal takes away any hopes of enjoyment. This is most apparent towards the end.
As poorly executed as it is, the film’s saving grace may be its plot. The plot has a mystery built into it and will draw in viewers by default. It is only natural to know what has happened and who is behind it all. The answers may not be satisfying, but it is the only reason to watch Hot Seat.
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