Saturday, August 5, 2017

Review of KIDNAP: A Thriller on Tenacity

August 4, 2017

Ever since Halle Berry opened the Oscar Best Actress door "for every nameless, faceless woman of color" for winning the elusive plum prize for her role in "Monster's Ball" (2001), her career seemed to have taken a down turn instead of up. Aside from her regular appearance as Storm in the X-Men movies before the First Class reboot, she had nothing else quite memorable. She even got a Razzie for Worst Actress in "Catwoman" (2004). 

Quite by coincidence, Berry's last film of note was also a film about a kidnap incident, entitled "The Call" (2013) (MY REVIEW), where she played the 911 operator who receives a distress call from an abducted girl. The topic of her newest film is quite apparent from the title alone which reeked of a pulpy potboiler. I went in not expecting too much. I just wanted to see Ms. Berry in action in the lead role again.

Karla Dyson worked as a waitress in a diner as she struggled to support her six-year-old son Frankie while dealing with her divorce from her husband. One day at the amusement park while her attention was diverted by a call on her cellphone, Karla realizes that Frankie was missing. In her distress, she caught sight of an old green Ford Mustang driving off, with a big woman stuffing her boy into the car! Karla rushed to get her own car and gave chase to the couple who kidnapped her son.

This film is all about Halle Berry and her intense portrayal of the never-say-die Mad-Max of a mother who never gave up chasing down the car that had her abducted son in it. She was doing incredibly brave and dangerous things no ordinary woman (or any ordinary man for that matter) could have done in real life. To say that Karla was relentless is a gross understatement. Berry made sure we feel the despair and vulnerability of this mother as she stuck to her chase no matter how many times she cheated death doing so.

The two kidnappers Terry and Margo Vicky were portrayed as crazy redneck hicks by Lew Temple and Chris McGinn respectively. These are one-dimensional bad guys who were not the typical crooks who tries to get away as fast as they can from those chasing them. These guys were bold and confrontational. They had Karla pinned in several precarious situations from which she was always lucky and superhuman enough to escape from. This kept the excitement level of the film going.

Director Luis Prieto made the most of the limitations of the script by Nate Gwaltney. With the panicking Halle Berry on the wheel, the car chase sequences were made to feel exciting and heart-pounding. It was no joke trying to extend a car chase for over an hour and engage the audience the whole way, and Prieto did not always succeed. If you suspend disbelief and just ignore some of its illogical details and improbable situations, this thrill ride was quite entertaining, if you have 95 minutes to kill. 5/10. 


  1. Lol, thanks for the review. I wanted to see that movie but wasn't quite sure if it would be able to keep my attention.

  2. Halle Berry's movies are always interesting exciting to watch! Glad to read about this review. Will be watching this soon! :)

  3. I have been a fan of halle berry and i really would still want to watch this. I totally forgot about this movie. Thanks for the review.

  4. The biggest nightmare of parenting.... Hope it is a happy ending where the mum and the kid are alright after being kidnapped......

  5. How thrilling this thrilling movie starred by a Storm role player who has the adrenalin working on her veins. This movie needs to be watched by a thrill-lovee like ne.

  6. Just yesterday I saw Halle Berry's interview in Jimmy Fallon show about this movie. I had high expectations comparing it with Taken! Let's see. Its a thrill ride, but illogical? I'd still like to check it out!