Clip It: Each day, Jon Davis looks at the world of trailers, featurettes, and clips and puts it all in perspective.
If you were considering kidnapping Halle Berry's child, let this trailer stand as a warning: Don't do it. And by the way, what's wrong with you? Why are you even mulling that over?
Kidnap looks like a great B movie. And that's not an insult. B movies have a long and grand tradition in film. In fact, B movies are the true heart of American cinema. You probably know all this, but as a refresher, B movies used to be the shorter movies that theaters would play along with the main feature event. So if you went to the theater to see a period drama, you might have seen goofy shorts and reels about aliens and super heroes. Of course, now those B movies, thanks to George Lucas, are big Hollywood movies and the period drama are the indie films.
We no longer have B movies in the traditional sense, but we do have movies that feel less ambitious but are just as fun as big tentpoles. B movies evolve with the times. In the “70s, there was blaxploitation. In the “90s, there were Hong Kong action movies from directors like John Woo. Currently, we see a lot of films with a Lifetime premise, but with amped-up adrenaline and action. Specifically, kids are getting kidnapped and parents are kicking ass to find them. Taken may have started the trend, and the newest releases. Mel Gibson's Bloodfather and this new flick with Halle Berry, have continued it. The Bloodfather trailer didn't do it for me, but Kidnap is a different story.
Obviously what makes this genre work is the raw emotion behind it. It doesn't get more primal than taking away a kid from a parent, especially a mother. In Taken – and all the other sequels with his career hostage daughter – Liam Neeson has a “particular set of skills.” He knows how to track, kill, and interrogate in a variety of different ways. With Kidnap, the idea here is that a mother doesn't require those skills as long as she can drive a car. That and pure animal instinct is all she needs.
I believe everything Halle is doing in this trailer. We don't need Halle's character to have a racing background to believe she'd run a red station wagon backwards down a freeway to rescue her son. I believe it because I've seen moms get that intense in my own life. This is totally true: when I was about six years old, I was playing in the kitchen with my younger brother when I saw two men through the window. We had trees in back (I grew up outside of Boston), and they were trying to hide behind them. When my mom saw what I was pointing to, she transformed into something I'd never seen before or since. She tore out of the house, screaming, ready to rip them apart with her bare hands. The men ran away as fast as they could. It was like they were being chased down by a lion. Actually, they were. At that moment, mom was lion a lion protecting her cubs.
This is not to mention, I'm sure my wife would react the same way with our son. It's the way humans are built. I have no idea why the kidnapper in this movie is so determined. Once the cops are after you, mom is on your tail, and everyone hates you, don't you want to just cut bait? It's just not worth it. My guess is that it's the dad or something. Maybe that's too obvious. I don't know.
Either way, if Kidnap can maintain the adrenaline and raw energy of the trailer, we could have a worthy entry in the B movie tradition on our hands.