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Review: Halle Berry is one-woman show in 'Kidnap'

Posted Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 11:17 AM Central

by John Couture

Let's be honest for a minute. The only reason that the film Kidnap exists is to showcase Halle Berry in her own version of Taken. With that out of the way, the end result is a moderately suspenseful thrill ride that long overstays its paltry 82-minute run time.

And yet, there's just something about Halle Berry and her dogged mama-bear mentality that tugs at the heartstrings.

As a new parent, this film is a rising fastball right down the middle of my greatest fear: that my child may be kidnapped. We all hear about the horrible reality of child abductions on the TV, but we never think it will happen to us. I'm sure that's what was going through Halle Berry's character Karla's mind when she took the call from her divorce lawyer.

And just like that, her son is taken and the film's adrenaline redlines. I get it, we all do stupid stuff in the heat of the moment, but the level of suspension of disbelief required for this film is really high. The result is a fast-paced suspenseful film, but one that is riddled with plot holes big enough to drive a minivan through.

The biggest plot hole of them all is the fact that a high-speed chase could happen on the streets of a major city without being met with an OJ-sized escort of police cars. I kept waiting for the end of Blues Brothers to appear but it never came to fruition. Another shortcoming was Karla's lack of luck in alerting the authorities and then her sudden reluctance to follow-through on getting the police involved when she finally has the opportunity to do so.

The series of events that culminates in the third act is so absurd (see Suspension of Disbelief), that the film starts to feel really contrived and every minute that passes is a reminder that these type of films often run out of steam. Kidnap definitely runs out of steam, but a game Halle Berry sells a weak third act and almost single-handedly saves the film.

One thing that probably hindered this film's chances for success was the fact that it got ensnared in the whole Relativity bankruptcy fiasco. As a result, the film sat on the proverbial shelf for a couple of years and the heat from similar films such as Taken had long cooled off with audiences.

It's a bit of unfortunate timing, but the film probably wasn't strong enough to be a hit in the best of times. That said, Halle Berry delivers a raw, unhinged performance that is very believable as a woman who is beyond desperate to save her son. For this reason alone, the film is worth a viewing. At 82 minutes, it won't take up much of your time, but you'll wish by the end that they had shaved another 20 minutes off of the running time.

Kidnap is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.