Posted August 4, 2017 by in

Quick Stats

Genre: action
Director: Luis Prieto, Sage Korrea
MPAA Rating: R
Actors: Halle Berry,
Length: 94 minutes
Release Date: 8-3-2017
Studio: Di Bonaventura Pictures, et al.
What We Thought

It’s Taken meets The Fast and the Furious…

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
Halle Berry’s six-year-old son gets kidnapped, and so she gets in her car and chases after them.  That’s the movie.
     Kidnap is simplicity itself, from a story standpoint.  The movie is nothing more than an extended chase sequence, twist and turn –free plotwise.  At that, the film works as a thrilling action movie with a plausible scenario.  Unlike a Transporter movie or the like, which feature wild, over-the-top stunts, the action of Kidnap is fairly realistic (although the dialog never shares that trait).   And forget hard bodies and hot cars like a certain other franchise, Berry drives a plain red van.
     But beneath the simple, bare-bones story, there’s more going on.  Moments before Karla’s (Halle Berry) son Frankie (Sage Korrea) is kidnapped, she receives a call from her attorney, who tells her that her ex-husband wants full custody of their son.  He works in real estate, and his new wife is a pediatrician, where Karla struggles to make ends meet working as a waitress in a local diner, which is frequented by demanding, entitled middle-class patrons.  Her fear of losing her son is then realized when he is abducted by a white-trash couple (and I use that term reluctantly).  In other words, Kidnap is about class warfare and intra-class warfare, played out in a violent car chase on the streets and highways of Louisiana.
     So why doesn’t she just call the police?  Just before her son is taken, Kara’s phone dies.  If there’s a moral to Kidnap, it’s remembering the A-B-C’s of cell phones.  Always Be Charging.  It’s probably happened to you, and it’s definitely happened to me.  It might seem air-headed on her part, but it gives the story plausibility.  Also notice that her van is running low on gas before the chase starts.   Not only does it put pressure on her to catch up to her quarry as quickly as she can, but it’s also a reminder that a full tank of gas is a luxury she cannot afford.  Again, class warfare.
     Of course, that is taking this film rather seriously, when it winks at the audience on more than one occasion; Kidnap is just B-movie fun.  It’s Taken meets The Fast and the Furious, done in the style of a Jason Bourne movie.  While that style is out-of-fashion in a post John Wick cinema landscape—as it should be—the film isn’t too shaky or cutty; you can tell what’s going on.  Director Luis Prieto goes close-up on Berry so often that it loses all meaning and effect, and screenwriter Knate Lee has Karla talking to herself mid-chase many, many times, so that we understand what’s she’s thinking and what’s going on.  It’s a crutch, and an obvious one.  Nevetheless, the pacing is tight, and there’s nary a moment between car crashes.  The body count, I would add, is much higher than you might expect.  It does what it needs to do. 3 out of 5 stars.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.


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