Reel Shorts | Kidnap

by Charles Kirkland Jr.

Halle Berry is one bad mother, fighting to save her son in Kidnap.

Karla Dyson (Halle Berry) is a single mother who is embroiled in a battle with her ex over custody of her son, Frankie (Sage Correa). In an attempt to capture as many moments with her son as possible, she takes Frankie to the park where they are having a fun day. There are clowns and games at the park and Karla keeps track of her son by playing a game of Marco Polo with him with their walkie-talkies. While receiving a call regarding the upcoming hearing, Karla loses track of her son. Frantic, Karla begins searching the park only to see someone shove her son into the back of a car. Determined to save him, Karla gets into her minivan in hot pursuit.

Before I get started with this review let me say that I am the biggest Halle Berry fan in the world. I have followed her from her humble beginnings in Jungle Fever and The Last Boy Scout to her Oscar winning performance in Monster’s Ball. I was happy to see her in Swordfish and sad to see Catwoman. But nonetheless, I have been ride or die with her always. I pray that she will forgive me. That being said…

This movie is terrible! It starts off with silliness, proceeds into the inane and then becomes entrenched in ridiculous, palm-to-forehead type of stupidity. I spent more time incredulous and mystified than I did being entertained. Berry’s character, Karla, bumbles, and fumbles throughout most of the movie and somehow miraculously and inexplicably grows a brain at the very end of the movie.

I place no fault at the feet of Halle Berry (I said I was a fan) other than she should have refused this role. The problem is in the writing. Writer Knate Lee has created a character that drives a super mini-van and is so hopelessly inept that we worry for the safety of her child even if she retrieves him. The movies flies through inconsistencies and impossibilities at the same break neck speed as the car chase that it portrays. With all the rewrites, reshoots and delays that have plagued this film, you would think that they would have gotten it right. However, nothing is further from the truth. In fact, the only redemption for the film would have been if it were based on a true story but, it is not.

Rated R for violence and peril, Kidnap is surprisingly lacking in both of these areas. The violence in the film is reduced to a couple of car accidents where the deaths of those involved can only be assumed because it is not shown. The peril is acted up by Berry’s character but no one watching truly believes there is any.

Kidnap has the potential to be a great thriller but instead, it robs its viewers of precious time that they could be doing something, anything else.

Grade: D-