"Kidnap" Movie Review
It is what it is.
Luis Prieto’s Kidnap is a fairly by-the-book flick about a woman chasing after the people who kidnapped her young son. That’s it. There’s no twist, no bizarre subplot, not much of anything, really, except for Halle Berry. Yes, the one-time Oscar winner (who hasn’t done anything of note since) puts her all into Kidnap, and it’s a solid performance. But if you saw her in The Call back in 2013, you’ll recognize this as more of the same. Not a bad thing necessarily, but certainly a reminder that once upon a time she wouldn’t have to stoop to roles like this.
Berry is Karla, a single mom stuck in a custody battle with her ex over six-year-old Frankie (Sage Correa). While at the park with him one afternoon she takes a call from her divorce lawyer, turns her back for two minutes, and poof, the boy is gone. After searching frantically for a bit she catches a glimpse of him being tossed into a car. She runs to her minivan, and the chase is on.
Presented mostly in real time, Kidnap races down New Orleans freeways for a while as Karla tries to stay on the tail of the car holding her son. Naturally she dropped her phone back in the parking lot, so she has no way to get in touch with the police, and everytime she yells to get help from a fellow commuter, they can’t hear her, because of course they can’t.
As the chase wears on there are a few nifty, unconventional moments, and there’s no questioning Berry’s commitment to the role; it’s almost as if she’s screaming, “Hey, remember me? I used to be someone!”, but between the plot holes, (in)convenient things like her car’s fuel gauge teetering near empty, and rather pedestrian direction by Prieto, there’s not a whole lot to love.
Kidnap is fine, and it does have a decent amount of suspense, but in the end it’s just another car-chase flick that could very well have been an A&E Movie of the Week or a DVD you find in the Walmart bargain bin (and you may in a year or so).
And that’s that.