If you watch a film without having any expectations, then “Hot Seat” is indeed an entertainer. It is predictable, and thus the level of urgency comes down as the film progresses. However, it is somehow able to make you wait to find out what happens next, no thanks to Mel Gibson. There is some tension towards the end, but it doesn’t have the intended effect as you have already guessed the ending, so much so that you are taken by surprise that you guessed right.
‘Hot Seat’ Plot Summary
Former hacker Orlando Friar (Kevin Dillon) is having a bad day as he has to come to work on his daughter Zoey’s (Anna Harr) birthday. His wife Kim (Lydia Hull) had also shown him the divorce papers that morning. But this is nothing compared to what is about to come his way. He arrives at his office, followed by his co-worker, Enzo (Michael Welch). Enzo takes a breakfast break and goes out. And then, as soon as Orlando sits down in his chair, his computer is hacked by someone who seems to know everything about him. There is also a pressure-triggered bomb attached under Orlando’s chair, so if he tries to stand, he will be in pieces. If he wants to stay alive, he will have to do whatever the anonymous guy tells him to do. Ava, Enzo’s former love interest, comes into the room and is also stuck inside with Orlando. When Enzo comes back and finds out what’s going on, he tries to escape using the elevator, but it explodes, thereby killing him.
On the other hand, we have bomb disposal specialists Wallace (Mel Gibson) and Jackson (Eddie Steeples). While investigating a car explosion, they are called by their chief regarding another blast (the elevator) in the building in which Orlando is. This second blast is what brings Wallace and Orlando together, who are the plot’s two main characters, apparently.
What follows is the slow revelation of how Orlando is able to find a way to get himself out of the anonymous hacker’s clutches and how Wallace chalks out a way into Orlando’s room without the anonymous hacker knowing. At the end of the film, it is revealed that Enzo is the one who was the anonymous hacker, pulling the strings all along.
Way Too Less Tension
For a film that deals with a man sitting on a chair that has a pressure-trigger bomb rigged exclusively to explode, there is not as much tension as there should be. Perhaps, it is the way Enzo, the then-unidentified hacker, speaks to Orlando that makes the whole scenario seem like the former is doing it only to have fun. But the fact is he is not. So when he talks to Orlando, it is proof that even though he is using Orlando for his own means, he cannot help but be overly colloquial. This, in turn, proves that Orlando and Enzo have been working together for quite a long time. If only the film had used this aspect and established their friendship better, the climax would have been more effective. But then again, an hour and a half’s worth of budget restraints always takes a toll on the script, followed by the production. Furthermore, we can see Orlando breaking into different kinds of servers, but the simple fact that the film doesn’t show the repercussions of these break-ins, like alarms going off or the dedicated security professionals losing their minds over their servers being hacked, is what prevents the film from having that urgency and tense state-of-mind. There is only one security guy who yells “code red,” and that’s it. The only thing that offers tension is the rigged chair, which, frankly speaking, sacrifices itself to save Orlando. (Watch the film to see what is meant here.)
What’s The Motive?
Enzo wants complete access to the servers that store details, financial and all else, of and about the “bankers, jack-holes, whatever you want to call them” that are stored in security deposit boxes in the form of individually encrypted drives maintained by a company called Templar Bonds. He wants the big guys to live in fear. But this motive doesn’t connect with his revenge on Orlando’s father. Apparently, Orlando, along with his old friend Victor, is responsible for taking Enzo’s father “out of commission” as a part of a data breach scandal. Or, it could be that Enzo, after stealing all the information, will escape and leave Orlando responsible for the break-in that will certainly land him in prison. That way, vengeance will be served. However, if only the film showed what really happened to Enzo’s father and a little bit more of what Orlando used to do during his time as a black hat hacker, things would have been more compelling for Enzo’s character. As it is, we are unable to understand why he is doing what he is doing and whether it is out of revenge for his father or for himself.
‘Hot Seat’ Ending Explained – What Happens to Enzo?
At the end of the film, Enzo takes Kim and Zoey hostage and brings them to the terrace of the building. Orlando has survived the blast of the chair miraculously, and after realizing that his family has been “taken” (for lack of a better pun), he rushes to the roof with Wallace. There, Enzo reveals his reasons for doing what he did to Orlando. Ultimately, Wallace distracts Enzo, and Orlando shoots him (he had managed to grab a gun earlier). Wallace takes two bullets but is alive due to his bulletproof vest. Enzo, while wounded fatally, somehow manages to activate the bomb he had wrapped around Zoey, thanks to the switch he had on him. As Orlando and Kim struggle to get the bomb off Zoey, the timer nears zero. But before it can go off, a wounded Wallace somehow manages to cut the main wire. Enzo dies, and Orlando returns home safely with his wife and daughter.
The ending is very predictable and somewhat ruins the whole mood of the plot. It seems that the bombardment of happy endings that we have had in most thriller films has made us unperturbed by them. There is nothing wrong with a happy ending, of course, but to have a proper catharsis, one also needs an equally effective climax and tragedy (if at all). “Hot Seat” has both, but one has to process them. And for a plot this predictable, one might not want to dedicate time to do that. As a result, “Hot Seat” is only suitable for binge-watching.
“Hot Seat” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by James Cullen Bressack.