kidnap trailer

I don’t know about you people, but I’m ready for the Halle Berry career renaissance. I think that we, as a symbolic nation of movie fans, are ready to completely forget about the likes of Catwoman and Die Another Day and Gothika and Things We Lost in the Fire and embrace a second wind. She’s a fine actress, a more-than-capable screen presence, and when it comes to more recent Berry performances, more people should talk about her brave and bonkers work in the brave and bonkers Cloud Atlas.

In any case, she appears to be carving out a new niche as the star of lower-budgeted thrillers. 2013’s The Call was a modest hit and Kidnap looks to be cut out of similar cloth.

As the title implies, Kidnap is about a mother whose son is abducted by some anonymous scumbag at a park. But since a mother scorned has the power to crack the earth in two with her fists, she gives chase, leading to all manner of yelling and screaming and running and metal crunching against metal on highways. This isn’t quite in the Taken mold (the main character here seems to be playing a perfectly ordinary woman, not someone with a particular set of skills), but Berry is definitely putting on her best Liam Neeson here. After all, determined parents who will crack skulls and engage in high-speed pursuits have been a big box office draw in recent years.

Most importantly, there’s a scene where Berry screams “You took the wrong kid!” at the kidnapper and it’s performed with just enough honesty to balance the inherent silliness of that line as it probably appears on the page. If the whole movie can find that tricky balance between sincere and hokey, Kidnap may be a decent matinee and/or excuse to eat some popcorn and avoid some of your responsibilities for two hours.

Kidnap is directed by Luis Prieto, who previously helmed 2012’s Pusher remake. I didn’t see that film (did anyone see that film?), but Kidnap appears to be a serviceable enough B-movie buoyed by a talented lead who lends gravitas to a familiar premise. I’m fully prepared to enjoy the rise of Halle Berry, low-budget thriller star.

In the meantime, Berry has been starring in the CBS series Extant and will be seen in next year’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Kidnap hits theaters on December 2, 2016.

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