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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Rob Reviews "Kidnap"

“Vengeance is a Mother.” “They Messed with the Wrong Mother”.

These are actual taglines, not for a Lifetime Movie, but for the latest film from “Pusher” director Luis Prieto, “Kidnap”. In it, Halle Berry plays Karla Dyson, a struggling single mother whose entire world revolves around her son, Frankie (Sage Correa), who is abducted at a park one day as she is on a phone call with her divorce lawyer. Jumping in her minivan, she gives chase to the evildoers through the streets and highways of New Orleans, facing danger of all forms as she refuses to give up on rescuing her child.

And that is that.

At a thankful eighty-two minutes, this film requires the audience to commit to a HUGE level of suspension of disbelief. I can roll with the fact that her phone dropped out of her purse after the battery died and she was in such a rush to get to her son that she didn’t notice. What gets to me is the following: A – doesn’t every car (much less a brand new Chrysler minivan) have an OnStar that you can at least get a free trial of, B – through this entire chase, there is not one single person that would shoot this footage and put it out for public consumption from their phone, and C – that New Orleans traffic is EVER that loose that they can swerve in and out of cars that easily with the minimal wreckage there is. There are other plot holes here that I could drive a truck through, but for a film like this, those are kind of implied going in for a leave-your-brain-at-the-door “thrill ride”. Berry herself (also a producer) is passable here, but I am always intrigued by how she is the only actor I can think of that has the opportunity to chew scenery and just can’t do it. I lost track of the number of times she said “Oh, God” including a strange sequence that involved the “do this one thing for me, and I’ll never ask for anything ever again, God” cliché left me simply confused. It was like the group sat around a table with the formula for this type of film and made sure each element was hit: good, bad, or indifferent.

If this was 1985, this film would get nothing but praise from me, but this premise just seems to be a bit tired. (Liam Neeson did it better.) The odd thing is that I cannot say that “Kidnap” is a bad film in any way with a clear conscience. There are a couple of good “jump scares” as well as some curves away from the normal path that these types of films take, and I can say that my heart did race in a few places even if it was just because of the nature of the plotline, but I cannot really bag on it too much. This is the modern popcorn film, and while it should make its $21 million budget back fairly easily, “Kidnap” will go down in our history as one of those “oh yeah, THAT was a thing” films that people catch late at night on cable or stumble across on a platform like Netflix and take in when nothing else is going on.

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