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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Kidnap (2017) (Blu-ray)
Kidnap (2017) (Blu-ray)
Universal // R // October 31, 2017 // Region A
List Price: $19.96 [Buy now and save at ]
Review by William Harrison | posted December 5, 2017 | E-mail the Author
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
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THE FILM:

Um, didn't the movie about Halle Berry trying to rescue a kidnapped girl already come out in 2013? Yes and no, I suppose. That movie is The Call and it is significantly better than the also-generically-titled Kidnap thanks to its gifted director and solid cast. But dammit if Berry does not act her ass off in everything, even if the material is on par with a midday Lifetime TV drama. Kidnap is shot by Spanish director Luis Prieto and produced by no less than seven people, including Berry. Working from a screenplay by Knate Lee, Berry and company slog through a host of cliches after her character's young son is kidnapped from a park by a redneck couple. Make no mistake, this is not a good movie, but you may find it hard to look away thanks to the magnanimous Berry, who deserves much better.

Although it is rated R for "violence and peril," Kidnap feels surprisingly safe. Berry plays Karla Dyson, a waitress in a custody battle with her ex-husband over their young son, Frankie (Sage Correa). One afternoon at an outdoor carnival, Karla steps away from Frankie for a moment so she can speak with her divorce attorney on the phone. She returns to find only his toy voice recorder and begins frantically searching the area. Karla eventually sees Frankie being dragged toward a late 1980s Ford Mustang by a large woman (Chris McGinn). She gives chase but is unsuccessful on foot, so she hops into her van and follows the Mustang, which roars through traffic and onto the freeway. Although she maintains visuals on the car for a time, Karla is forced to back off when a second, male kidnapper (Lew Temple) threatens to hurt Frankie.

Although the suspense is relatively mundane, Berry does do an expectedly excellent job keeping the audience interested. She plays through a range of emotions, including fear, anger and adrenaline-fueled determination. The film is moderately unique in that it forgoes the typical police/victim/kidnapper tete-a-tete and focuses almost solely on Berry. We see what Karla does and follow her on the dangerous journey. There are some third-party casualties along the way to raise the stakes, but Kidnap is never as nasty as it might have been given the R rating. For the majority of its 95-minute running time, Kidnap never reaches high gear, and instead stumbles through ineffectively staged freeway action sequences with cuts to actors obviously not driving their cars.

Perhaps it's Prieto's inexperience as an action director or the choppy editing from Avi Youabian, but Kidnap is not the seamless, streamlined thriller it should be. Viewers sense little danger, and the film staggers when attempting to show movement from place to place. Each segment of highway is fungible, and the remainder of the locations are nondescript. Maybe I have seen too many movies to think Kidnap would offer any surprises, but that does not make me wrong. Berry is too good an actress to play in this type of off-the-shelf, connect-the-dots thriller. She brings an air of sophistication to the role and continues to be an effective Everywoman, but Kidnap is a starring vehicle not worthy of its star.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

The 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image offers a crisp, bright presentation without obvious flaws. The film looks solid in motion, and, despite a few softer shots, offers plenty of fine-object details. Colors are bold and nicely saturated, and highlights never bloom. Black levels are good, and black crush is minimal.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is heavily immersive, with ample action sound pans and LFE support. Dialogue is clear throughout, the score is nicely balanced and environmental effects spill into the surrounds. Car crash and chase sequences make use of the entire sound field, and all elements are balanced appropriately. English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This two-disc set includes the Blu-ray, a DVD copy and a code to redeem both iTunes and UltraViolet HD digital copies. The discs are packed in a standard case that is wrapped in a slipcover. The only extra is a brief and pointless EPK featurette, A Look Inside Kidnap (3:13/HD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

No, this movie did not come out several years ago. You're thinking of The Call, which also involves Halle Berry and a kidnapped kid. This generic and undercooked thriller is Kidnap, and its star deserves better. Skip It.

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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