(Rated R) 2 1/2 cars (out of 4)
Academy Award winner Halle Berry is back in the big screen in the new thriller “Kidnap”, and she is not to be trifled with. Berry stars as Karla Dyson, a down-on-her-luck mother of one who works at a waitress in a New Orleans diner.
She is separated from her husband and is fighting to keep custody of her six-year-old son Frankie (Sage Correa). We meet Karla at her job where she is about to leave work to take her son to the park for some afternoon fun. While the two are enjoying the local carnival, Karla gets a phone call from her divorce lawyer that so upsets her she temporary walks away from Frankie. When she returns to the bench where she left her son, he is missing. Karla begins a frantic search throughout the carnival area until she spots Frankie being placed in a Ford Mustang by a blonde lady. She immediately chases after the car on foot until she is able to get in her vehicle in pursuit of her sons kidnappers. At this point the film becomes a fast pasted chase film, with Berry’s character suddenly having the driving skills of Jason Bourne or any cast member from “The Fast and the Furious” films.
Never mess with a mother in pursuit of her kidnapped child. Eventually Karla discovers her son has two kidnappers and offers them everything she has in her wallet in order to get her son back. The maddening chase continues throughout the interstate highways and back roads of New Orleans, causing major traffic accidents along the way. After several unbelievable happenings (this is a fictional movie after all), Karla is able to find the location where the kidnappers (one hideous large blonde lady and a tacky white trash male) have taken her son. The house of the kidnappers provides yet another showdown, this one featuring a climatic battle between the bad hair year blonde and Karla. I really kept hoping an alligator would come out of the water and snatch blondie, but alas, no such luck. After events finally turn in Karla’s favor, she is met with yet another shocking turn of events, and must again step up and be the hero, which she accomplishes with B-movie aplomb. I came to realize while watching this film, even though the budget was $20 million, I was witnessing an expensive B-movie. Don’t get me wrong, there are many fun low-budget B-movies, this one just happens to be on the expensive side, and is certainly an edge-of-your-seat thriller. I’m just a bit surprised to see Berry in this type of film, but I can understand how strongly she must have felt about a movie displaying the unwavering love of a mother. To me it wasn’t Berry who made the film seem B grade, it was her co-stars portraying the kidnappers.
The actors to blame (Lew Temple and Chris McGinn) left no white trash stereotype behind, and at times were a bit too over-the-top. The kid playing her son Frankie was awesome, and held his own with Berry. The film is also saved by the exciting car chase sequences, and had me jumping in my seat and yelling out loud twice, which didn’t bother me since the theater was empty for my screening. If you take “Kidnap” for the pursuit film it is, you will have an enjoyable pedal to the metal time at the theater.