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Kidnap (2017) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

Kidnap Review

Director: Luis Prieto
Writer: Knate Lee
Stars: Halle Berry, Sage Correa, Chris McGinn

Plot:  A mother stops at nothing to recover her kidnapped son.
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 37%  Audience 50%

Why I Watched it: The trailer looked alright and I have to say I like Halle Berry in these types of roles.

Random Thoughts: That’s a bad title, just say the word as a movie title, it needs more.  You know a movie is really high concept when you can describe it in not only one sentence but a really short sentence.  You look at the tagline and really this is a working class Taken, it’s not an ex spy/army guy but a working class Mom.  It does have the hook of this being every parents worst nightmare, it’s cheap heat but it works to sell the movie.

What I Liked: This is one of those high octane movies, where once the plot starts it just keeps going and I have to say they’ve done a good job of bringing the tension and suspense cause really this is one big chase movie. I’ll give a ton of credit to Halle Berry cause a lot of this movie she’s alone, she has no one to play off of, she doesn’t even get the crutch of talking to a cop on the phone or the radio so most of her performance is her playing off the action.  This is a very psychical role and to Berry’s credit she’s good here, you buy her desperation, her fear, cause without that there’s no movie, this is all on her shoulders, cause the bad guys are mostly faceless.  That’s another key that this movie deals more with the situation, it’s Berry against the plot here.  Her son is kidnapped her has to get him back, almost a video game like idea. The chase/chases is shot well, the action is done well here cause it’s not only about the actual chase it’s the stakes involved here.  They did well just stretching this paper thin plot into a full movie.

What I Didn’t Like: This is the type of movie that while you’re watching in you’re on in cause it’s set up is good and the action is tense and moving where it falls apart is when they give you time to think, and yes there’s some really dumb plot points and decisions made here.  The basic problem is the film’s too long, this is 80 minutes at best and where the film is hurt is when the chases stops and it does a couple of times, it’s like in Speed it’s not as good when they get off the bus.  If Kidnap was just the chase it might have worked better, they do get some tension near the end but at that point they’re running on fumes.
Kidnap is another film that in theory is cool and could work as an action movie but it would have worked better ten years ago, they have to come up with reasons she doesn’t have a phone, cause you call the police right away, she panics falls drops her phone and leaves it. Now I also had a problem with the kidnapping, I get she out in a park she’s on the phone with her lawyer but to walk away and turn your back on your child is pretty dumb, she was far enough away she could have still watched her son.

Also where this film is a bit silly is the kidnapping and why, so these two people just take a kid and pull him to a car in daylight and with people around the kid is yelling, at this point you drop the kid and get out and of course they don’t do this but what they do is so dumb, all the stuff on the highway, they throw stuff out of their car and they threaten to throw a young kid out of the car and everyone drives by like nothing happens, at this point don’t you cut your losses. Once the chase stops and we end up at the bad guys hideout it turns into a standard B-Movie thriller, the good guy/women/person trying to sneak in, the action fights at the end are fine but takes you out of what happened earlier.  It also doesn’t help that the bad guys here are like cartoon characters.

Final Thoughts: It’s not bad and I do think some of it worked, I liked Halle Berry a lot and it was tense.  The plot just didn’t hold together enough for me.

Rating: 5/10

Kidnap (2017) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

Kidnap Review

Director: Luis Prieto
Writer: Knate Lee
Stars: Halle Berry, Sage Correa, Chris McGinn

Although filmed in 2014 it took another 3 years before this film was released to the public due to original studio folding. Thankfully “Kidnap” finally got it’s release through Netflix and premiered back in August. Is it in the same league as Ransom, Taken or Breakdown, perhaps not but there are elements of all three movie in this production.

The Movie opens with a montage of Cinefilm featuring Frankie (Sage Correa) growing up from baby to toddler with his Mother Karla (Halle Berry) Movies tend to do this as a way to fast track and build a relationship up with it’s audience to show the relationship between the characters. Personally I didn’t think this was needed when the characters were Mother and Child but nevertheless the first 15 minutes of the film are also invested in their relationship and you are just waiting to see when the kidnap will take place.

At this point, the character of Karla is slightly scatty and easily harassed and in particular in the opening scenes in her place of work (Diner) you’d be forgiven to expect the kidnapping to take place in this sequence as Frankie is strategically placed at the doorway of the Diner and is left to his own devices. Clever trick on the Directors part to make the audience feel unease.

The actual kidnapping is more obvious as the story evolves in the first 15 minutes and we see a change in Berry’s character from a scatterbrain to a focused woman. The next 70 minutes is a chase scene basically and to be honest I enjoyed it. It was entertaining and although the cuts were a bit annoying at times I don’t think the situation lost its intensity over this.

Kidnap is a movie that is about a Kidnap and although that is it there are obstacles along the way. Halle Berry is believable in her role and although a few cheesy lines thrown in, Karla is a character you can sympathise with (particularly in her praying scene in the car) and has a mixture of emotions that serve for each scenario in a believable way. The hesitancy in her when her son is threatened right before her eyes during the chase is acceptable to the audience and although frustrating isn’t your typical Hollywood response.

The villains aren’t exactly fleshed out and portray more like henchmen for the brains behind the crime. We only know they are the “baddies” due to their actions but it isn’t discovered what their intentions are until half way through the movie and it isn’t until the last 15 minutes of the film that there is a mastermind behind the kidnapping and even then this person isn’t exactly developed as he appears for all of 2 minutes.

I mentioned pacing earlier in my review and as far as the action sequences go they are fine (apart from the punch up in the car involving Karla and the female villain which is a mess) and there is an element of suspense and intensity. My problem is in the way some of the movie is edited. There are far too many cuts in short spaces of time and you will feel disoriented in certain scenes.

For entertainment value it is enjoyable and you will be hooked from start to finish to see how the story pans out. Production wise it apparently had issues with 4 failed release dates and this cut looks a little rushed as if they “had” to get it out before a fifth attempt was cancelled. “Kidnap” is a recommendable movie if you enjoy high speed car chases and an intense storyline.