I wish I had known that Kidnap was exactly the kind of high concept of movie I crave. I’m fine with a Halle Berry Taken vehicle but the marketing did not convey that Kidnap is almost entirely a road movie. This is the sort of simple high concept that hooks me when done well. She’s gotta follow the car that took her son or lose him forever. How do you sustain that? Let’s find out!
Karla Dyson (Berry) witnesses her son get kidnapped at the park. She’s not quite fast enough to pull him from the car, but she gives chase and stays on the kidnappers all day on the road.
Kidnap had me from the very first car chase. Hanging on the car, it’s a stuntwoman in closeups, as it should be, but the character of Karla is tenacious. I don’t need Berry to get pulled by a speeding car for real. I just need to see that Karla is willing to hang on.
On the road, Karla is screaming, “Oh God” the whole time.” That’s both a real person’s reaction to intense action and a mother’s reaction to any threat to her child.
That first car chase uses all the stuff that rankles us on the road: freeway ramps, missing the exit, stuff falling from people’s trunks… Director Luis Prieto and writer Knate Lee just made an epic action scene out of it.
They also made the cars easily identifiable, the blue kidnapper sedan with black hinged rearview and her red SUV, so we can track the players.
They solve the cell phone issue in the initial panic. Of course she drops her purse ad she can’t go back for it. Not that having a phone in her car would necessarily have helped. When she finally finds ways to call for help, law enforcement can’t keep up with the evolving chase.
Kidnap even answers the “out of gas” issue that Speed sort of copped out of. The bus drained gas at the airport, but they never had to face the issue of dropping below 50 because the tank was empty. Karla has to face a blinking E.
Was Kidnap the fastest most furious movie of the year? Well, we did have Baby Driver. But Kidnap was probably the fastest most furious movie of 2014 when it was made.
The Blu-ray looks great with action on lush Louisiana roadways and bridges. The cars take a beating and show all the detail. Director Luis Prieto captures the distance of cars traveling into the horizon and those shots look incredible in HD.
Being lost in the Relativity shuffle, there aren’t many extras for Kidnap. Just three minutes with Halle Berry and Luis Prieto promoting the movie, and three sound bites from the second unit director. But that’s ok. Kidnap is a tight 82 minute thriller that sells itself.