Tyrese Gibson attempts his version of Die Hard in director Jon Keeye’s Rogue Hostage from Vertical Entertainment. Single father and former Marine Kyle Snowden (Tyrese Gibson) must save his daughter Angel (Zani Jones Mbayise) and other hostages from a dangerous criminal by the name of Eagan (Christopher Backus), who has trapped them inside a neighborhood store owned by Kyle’s polarizing stepfather, Congressman Sam Nelson (John Malkovich).
Mickey Soil’s script for Rogue Hostage introduces us to Kyle amid a PTSD-related nightmare. Kyle’s wife left her family for reasons never explained, and Kyle now works as a CPS agent with his partner Clove (Brandi Bravo). Kyle is on the outs with his stepfather Sam Nelson (John Malkovich) based on his childhood. However, Sam maintains a healthy relationship with his granddaughter.
I will give credit to Mickey Soil’s script for the angle it uses to get Kyle’s daughter and Kyle’s latest rescue, Manny (Carlos Sanchez), to the neighborhood store, but the film quickly goes downhill. I do not even know where to begin. Let us start first with our villain Eagan (Christopher Backus) and his asinine motive. While I will not reveal it here, in 2021 and the age of social media, the rationale does not hold up.
Furthermore, the script tries to use the six degrees of separation and fails on every level. While I believe in the friend of a friend theory, it does not work in the film. Now let us move on to the acting. Tyrese Gibson has always had a charismatic screen presence since his debut as a leading man in 2001’s Baby Boy. While Gibson found the most success in the franchises for Transformers and Fast & Furious, now and then, he will do a smaller film. Unfortunately, for Gibson, Rogue Hostage is his worst performance since 2007’s The Take.
Gibson has portrayed military men before, so while I give kudos for his portrayal as a Marine vet, there was just something in the performance that does not sit right with me. I do understand that due to the character’s PTSD, Kyle has an aversion to violence. However, when Kyle finally springs into action, the choreography comes off as rehearsed and unsmooth. Gibson was better in the scenes with his daughter and Manny (Carlos Sanchez). Perhaps if the film focused solely on Kyle as a CPS agent instead, I would have a higher grade for it.
The supporting cast is not much better, and three talented actors all phone in their performances. John Malkovich must owe someone a favor because I cannot figure out why he subjects himself to this tripe for the life of me. Did Mr. Malkovich learn nothing about his appearance in the ill-fated Jonah Hex back in 2010? Luna Lauren Velez and Michael Jai White, who can usually make the best of anything, are also here for a check. Most insulting is Jai White never even gets a chance to show off his martial arts skills as a bodyguard. The handling of Jai White’s character and his arc is one of the biggest insults of the year.
I never expected Rogue Hostage to reach the heights of Die Hard or even Passenger 57. However, the film is all over the place, the action is mundane, and the acting from everyone involved is mediocre at best. As always, check it out for yourself, but Rogue Hostage is easily one of my worst of 2021.
Final Grade: F
Rogue Hostage is available on Apple TV, Vudu, and other streaming platforms. In addition, the film is showing limited theaters and available for rent at your local Redbox.