When 12 year old bird (Ella Ballentine) went to visit her mother's grave and take some photos she witnesses a man, Sade (Laurence Fishburne), shoot dead a priest and two others who were attending a funeral. But when this killer sees Bird he comes after her forcing her to run to the nearest house. The house belongs to Carter (Thomas Jane), a former soldier who since quitting has struggled with life, spending his days drinking. But with Bird in need of protection it leads to a standoff between Carter and Sade with the sadistic Sade capable of doing anything to complete his mission.
Thinking about the other movies I have seen where someone with military training finds themselves trying to protect an innocent child they have tended to feature lots of running around and big chase scenes. It is one of the major differences you will notice when watching "Standoff" because here is a movie which throws us into a not so special house in the middle of nowhere with the good guy up stairs, the bad guy down stairs and neither backing down. But as we learn as the movie progresses the situation is not simple as like in an old western where a cowboy ends up pinned down in the mountains are hero has one shell left for his weapon, something of course are bad guy doesn't know.
What that means is that rather than just being about the action "Standoff" has a psychological level as we see how Carter tries to out smart Sade whilst Sade tries to get under Carter's skin. At the same time we almost have an element of redemption as the innocent Bird brings out the caring side in Carter which also leads to some flashback style scenes as we get to understand why Carter has become a bitter alcoholic. In truth none of this is new but it is nicely put together to deliver the sort of familiar drama which keeps you entertained.
But a big part of what makes "Standoff" work is the spot on casting as Thomas Jane does a great job of playing the troubled former soldier who has been letting himself go due to his self loathing. And Laurence Fishburne delivers the full on cockiness and attitude which makes him loathsome yet also entertaining.
What this all boils down to is that "Standoff" is a movie of familiar ideas which despite their familiarity works to be a surprisingly entertaining little action drama.