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Review: Kidnap

Kidnap
08.03.2017
5 10

PLOT: A single mom (Halle Berry) springs into action when her young son is kidnapped during a day out at the park.

REVIEW: KIDNAP is another one of those Relativity Media leftovers that are hitting theaters this year after having spent years on the shelf. Other movies caught-up in the same limbo include THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM, COLLIDE and MASTERMINDS. Of them all, KIDNAP is probably the most commercial, with a simple, relatable premise and a likable star, but three years of sitting on the shelf has done it no favors, giving it a whiff of failure that it doesn’t entirely deserve.

Clearly an attempt at a pseudo follow-up for Halle Berry’s surprise hit, THE CALL, KIDNAP takes elements of that movie (the concise – near real-time timeline) and marries it with elements from TAKEN, giving it a more suburban spin. KIDNAP’s biggest strength – the one it lives or dies by – is Berry’s performance.

The ads are selling this one as a bad-ass mom action flick, but it’s more realistic than that. Here, she’s a working-class, waitress mom, without any Bryan Mills-style special skills. She simply uses extreme tenacity to outwit the villains, who, up until a silly twist at the end, mostly seem like trashy folks she could likely make mincemeat out of if she’s able to catch-up with them. For at least 80% of the movie, Berry’s the only one on screen, as much is an extended chase where she hauls-ass in her SUV in pursuit of her boy, and she’s a heroine you can root for.

The issue with KIDNAP is essentially everything but Berry. While THE CALL was no masterpiece, it had a sure-hand in director Brad Anderson, and tight-editing that made it a solid edge-of-your-seat romp. By contrast, KIDNAP, despite the constant momentum of the plot, seems slow. The early scenes, depicting Berry as a waitress and arguing with her ex’s lawyers over the phone, are goofy and melodramatic (the opening montage of her son being cute goes on too long), and once the chase kicks-in, the pace goes slack too often. Director Luis Prieto, who previously directed the OK remake of Nicolas Winding Refn’s PUSHER, probably turned in enough half-decent footage to make for a passable movie, but the editorial choices are poor. The final confrontation, especially, is killed by artsy use of slow-motion, and the chase scenes aren’t muscular enough, with too many similar shots of the speedometer being used, while the score by Federico Jusid is too melodramatic and not as propulsive as a movie like this needs.

Still, at least there’s Berry in the driver’s seat, and the force of her performance is enough to push to make this a half-decent recommendation for someone looking for a quickie genre thriller. There are enough good movies out there that you could easily wait until KIDNAP hits streaming, but if its date night and you’ve seen ATOMIC BLONDE, sure, why not? Berry is a legit movie star, and if ever there was a star vehicle that only semi-succeeds thanks to its star – this is it.

Source: JoBlo.com

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