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Ramazan Kornilov
Ramazan Kornilov


Former L.A. SWAT officer Jeff Talley is a hostage negotiator in Los Angeles. One day, Talley negotiates with an abusive man who has taken his own wife and son hostage after learning his wife was cheating on him. Shortly after Talley denies a SWAT commander's request to give snipers the order to open fire, the despondent husband kills his wife, son, and himself. Traumatized, Talley moves with his family and becomes police chief in Bristo Camino, a suburban hamlet in nearby Ventura County.


A year later, Talley finds himself in another hostage situation. Two teenagers, Dennis Kelly and his brother Kevin, and their accomplice Marshall "Mars" Krupcheck take hostage Walter Smith and his two children, teenage Jennifer and young Tommy, in Smith's house after a failed robbery attempt. The first officer to respond is shot twice by Mars just before Talley arrives. Talley attempts to rescue the officer, but she dies in front of him. Traumatized and unwilling to put himself through another tragedy, Talley hands authority over to the Ventura County Sheriff's Department and leaves.

Smith has been laundering money for a mysterious criminal syndicate through offshore shell corporations. He was preparing to turn over a batch of important encrypted files recorded on a DVD when he was taken hostage. To prevent the incriminating evidence from being discovered, the syndicate orders someone known only as the Watchman to kidnap Talley's wife and daughter. Talley is instructed to return to the hostage scene, regain authority, and stall for time until the organization can launch its own attack against Smith's house.

Dennis forces Kevin and Mars to tie up the children, while he knocks out Smith and finds a large amount of cash. In an attempt to end the standoff and secure the DVDs himself, Talley meets with Dennis and agrees to provide a helicopter in exchange for half of the money. When the helicopter arrives, Dennis and Kevin bring the money to Talley and prepare to leave, but Mars refuses to leave without Jennifer, with whom he has become infatuated. Talley says the helicopter will only carry three additional people and insists that Jennifer stay behind, but the deal breaks down and the boys return to the house. Talley learns that Mars is a psychopathic killer who could turn on the hostages and his own accomplices at any moment. Mars does, in fact, kill Dennis and Kevin, just as Kevin is about to release the children.

The film's plot is roughly the same as Crais's novel. The main difference is that the novel's complicated subplot involving powerful West Coast Mafia crime lord Sonny Benza was removed, with the film giving little explanation of Walter Smith's criminal associates. The film also makes the first group of hostage-takers somewhat younger in age than depicted in the novel. In addition, the criminal syndicate in the film were portrayed as mysterious criminals rather than a regular Mafia.

On occasion, hostage taking is an impulsive act of desperation, as when a criminal act goes awry, the criminal has lethal force available, and a bystander becomes hasty collateral, despite the prospects for evading justice remaining poor, now soon surrounded by lethal force with intent as well as criminal prosecution for a serious additional crime, should the hostage taker survive the escalated stand-off (not always the intent; see suicide by cop). These confrontations are extremely dramatic, and are prominent in the public eye, despite being rather uncommon. Hostage taking is sometimes the only way to enact a plan, hence tactical, such as certain forms of prison escape, especially as treated in film.

Parental child abduction is not generally considered hostage taking because there is usually no threat of harm to the child and no ultimatum concerning the return of the child (though there are cases where the leverage obtained within the failed parental relationship is more desired than the child), but otherwise hostage taking and kidnapping are prone to blend together. When the goal is strictly financial, the primary lens is one of extortion, even in the face of a severe threat to the safety of the captive person if the financial negotiation fails; conversely, when the goal is political or geopolitical, the primary lens is terrorism.

The long history of political and military use indicates that political authorities or generals would legally agree to hand over one or usually several hostages in the custody of the other side, as guarantee of good faith in the observance of obligations. These obligations would be in the form of signing of a peace treaty, in the hands of the victor, or even exchange hostages as mutual assurance in cases such as an armistice. Major powers, such as Ancient Rome[2] and European colonial powers would especially receive many such political hostages, often offspring of the elite, even princes or princesses who were generally treated according to their rank and put to a subtle long-term use where they would be given an elitist education or possibly even a religious conversion. This would eventually influence them culturally and open the way for an amicable political line if they ascended to power after release.

This caused the element gīsl = "hostage" in many old Germanic personal names, and thus in placenames derived from personal names, for example Isleworth in west London (UK) from Old English Gīslheres wyrð (= "enclosure belonging to [a man called] Gīslhere").

The practice of taking hostages is very ancient, and has been used constantly in negotiations with conquered nations, and in cases such as surrenders, armistices and the like, where the two belligerents depended for its proper carrying out on each other's good faith. The Romans were accustomed to take the sons of tributary princes and educate them at Rome, thus holding a security for the continued loyalty of the conquered nation and also instilling a possible future ruler with ideas of Roman civilization.[1] The practice was also commonplace in the Imperial Chinese tributary system, especially between the Han and Tang dynasties.

The practice continued through the early Middle Ages. The Irish High King Niall of the Nine Hostages got his epithet Noígiallach because, by taking nine petty kings hostage, he had subjected nine other principalities to his power.

This practice was also adopted in the early period of company rule in India, and by France during the French colonization of North Africa. The position of a hostage was that of a prisoner of war, to be retained until the negotiations or treaty obligations were carried out, and liable to punishment (in ancient times), and even to death, in case of treachery or refusal to fulfil the promises made.[1]

The practice of taking hostages as security for the carrying out of a treaty between civilized states is now obsolete. The last occasion was at the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748), ending the War of the Austrian Succession, when two British peers, Henry Bowes Howard, 11th Earl of Suffolk, and Charles, 9th Baron Cathcart, were sent to France as hostages for the restitution of Cape Breton to France.[1]

In France, after the revolution of Prairial (June 18, 1799), the so-called law of hostages was passed, to meet the royalist insurrection in La Vendée. Relatives of émigrés were taken from disturbed districts and imprisoned, and were liable to execution at any attempt to escape. Sequestration of their property and deportation from France followed on the murder of a republican, four to every such murder, with heavy fines on the whole body of hostages. The law only resulted in an increase in the insurrection. In 1796 Napoleon had used similar measures to deal with the insurrection in Lombardy.[3][1]

In later times the practice of official war hostages may be said to be confined to either securing the payment of enforced contributions or requisitions in an occupied territory and the obedience to regulations the occupying army may think fit to issue; or as a precautionary measure, to prevent illegitimate acts of war or violence by persons not members of the recognized military forces of the enemy.[1]

During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the Germans took as hostages the prominent people or officials from towns or districts when making requisitions and also when foraging, and it was a general practice for the mayor and adjoint of a town which failed to pay a fine imposed upon it to be seized as hostages and retained until the money was paid. Another case where hostages have been taken in modern warfare has been the subject of much discussion. In 1870 the Germans found it necessary to take special measures to put a stop to train-wrecking by "Francs-tireurs" - i.e. "parties in occupied territory not belonging to the recognized armed forces of the enemy", which was considered an illegitimate act of war. Prominent citizens were placed on the engine of the train so that it might be understood that in every accident caused by the hostility of the inhabitants their compatriots will be the first to suffer. The measure seems to have been effective. In 1900 during the Second Boer War, by a proclamation issued at Pretoria (June 19), Lord Roberts adopted the plan for a similar reason, but shortly afterwards (July 29) it was abandoned.[4][1]

Most writers on international law have regarded this method of preventing such acts of hostility as unjustifiable, on the ground that the persons taken as hostages are not the persons responsible for the act; that, as by the usage of war hostages are to be treated strictly as prisoners of war, such an exposure to danger is transgressing the rights of a belligerent; and as useless, for the mere temporary removal of important citizens until the end of a war cannot be a deterrent unless their mere removal deprives the combatants of persons necessary to the continuance of the acts aimed at.[5] On the other hand, it has been urged[6] that the acts, the prevention of which is aimed at, are not legitimate acts on the part of the armed forces of the enemy, but illegitimate acts by private persons, who, if caught, could be quite lawfully punished, and that a precautionary and preventive measure is more reasonable than reprisals. It may be noticed, however, that the hostages would suffer should the acts aimed at be performed by the authorized belligerent forces of the enemy.[1] 041b061a72


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