by Hope Madden
Let me admit this from the start – I may have liked Kidnap better than I should have. Why? Well, I saw it immediately after The Dark Tower, and it is Citizen Kane compared to that festering pile.
In this film, Haley Berry plays Liam Neeson. It’s her second time in the role, actually.
Back in ’08, Neeson – with help from the pen of Luc Besson – revolutionized film with the (wildly over-appreciated) genre flick Taken. Mid-budget “I have a particular set of skills” thrillers have littered the cinematic landscape since, wreaking righteous vengeance and prolonging the careers of middle aged actors everywhere.
In 2013, Berry made The Call, which was not a bad B-movie thriller and her first turn as Liam Neeson. Kidnap sees the Oscar winner playing a loving mother whose 6-year-old (a very sweet Sage Correa) is nabbed from a busy park. Mom sees the napper shoving her son into a car, she jumps in her minivan and the pursuit begins.
The film amounts to a 90-minute car chase with one unreasonably attractive mom behind the wheel. Several of the action sequences are interesting and flashy (for a film with this level of budget – do not go into this hoping for Fast and the Furious: Minivans).
Writer Knate Lee can’t really justify the lack of cell phone or police presence, but he does what he can. Meanwhile, director Luis Prieto ably assembles car chases and panicked driver close ups, then competently shifts tone for a final act that toes the line between thriller and horror.
There’s nothing exceptional about Kidnap. Not one thing. You’ll forget it existed as quickly as you forgot The Call was ever made. But for a getting-the-phone-bill-paid flick, it’s not too bad.