Kidnap is a high-speed thriller of sorts starring simultaneous Oscar and Razzie winner, Halle Berry. Karla Dyson, a newly single mother whose son is kidnapped right in front of her, spends the entirety of the film doing everything in her power to get her son back from two slimy men who “took the wrong kid.” This film, while an attempt at many different things, isn’t horrible to The Emoji Movie levels, but certainly isn’t the maternal version of Taken it so desperately wants to be. What the film actually is ends up being a sloppy, uninspired, by-the-numbers abduction film in which a parent takes on near superhuman traits to get their kid back. This is an August throwaway release that was supposed to come out years ago (as early as 2015), and it definitely shows. Though Kidnap is not entirely a snooze-fest, this “thriller” will not keep you on the edge of your seat either.
This film does manage to succeed in a few areas, despite its rap sheet of flaws. For starters, it is a clean ninety minutes, resulting in no real fat or fluff spread throughout its runtime. Action starts within ten minutes, which is oddly satisfying. This does affect character development, but how much character development do you really need for a movie with this premise? The film does a decent job at keeping things simple. Dyson is put into a crazy situation, she reacts to it, and the movie goes on from there. Kidnap does not break any new ground. Its simplicity boils down to being little more than a straight mash-up of Taken and Speed, minus the fun of either.
Lack of fun is just the beginning of the laundry list of things wrong with Kidnap. However, it is probably the biggest one. A movie like this has two options: either be a fun, action-packed thriller filled with craziness or be a dramatic thriller where you care for the protagonist. Unfortunately, audiences never really get to know enough about Dyson to empathize with her beyond the kidnapping. Don’t look for Halle Berry to have a Liam Neeson-esque career turnaround from this film. The aforementioned character development (or lack thereof) also contributes to the below-average plot. Kidnap raises way too many questions that are inevitably left unanswered. Why did the kidnappers choose Frankie? Why doesn’t Dyson push the police harder? Are any of the innocent bystanders on this highway still alive? For a movie that shouldn’t require a lot of brainpower, it sure does have you thinking a lot.
I didn’t go into Kidnap with a lot of expectations. I stepped into the theater with none, really. I would have been happy if it was at least entertaining, but unfortunately it only is about half the time. Kidnap is just uninspired and practically lifeless. Events happen, the movie flies by, and at the end you’re left not really feeling anything because you were never invested in the first place. The filmmakers could have at least put more effort into the action to sell Berry as the action star they wanted her to be. That might have, at least, made the trip to the theater worth it. Kidnap is not the worst movie in the world (or even in theaters right now) and has moments of entertainment, but overall lacks purpose and identity.
DeVaughn’s Score: 3.5/10