• by Wes Singleton

Kidnap, C-

Rated R, 95 minutes

"Kidnap" is the type of junky, trashy thriller that studios tend to burn off around Labor Day, but then not every thriller has lovely Oscar-winner Halle Berry and a bunch of car chases, which is the only reason that it'd find an early August release going up against a big-budget adaptation of a Stephen King book. "Kidnap" is much more dumb than cheesy (a dead end road doesn't make much sense) and give Berry props for doing her best behind the wheel, though she continues to slum it considering her star status.

A typical afternoon in the park turns into a nightmare for single mother Karla Dyson (Berry) when kidnappers snatch her young son Frankie (Sage Correa). With no cellphone and no time to wait for police, Dyson jumps into her car to follow the vehicle that holds Frankie. As the pursuit turns into a frantic, high-speed chase, Karla must risk everything and push herself to the limit to save her beloved child.

"Kidnap" is directed by Luis Prieto ("Pusher") and written by Knalte Gwaltney and is a mildly entertaining but silly, silly thriller filmed in 2014 as a follow-up to Berry's cheesier, more entertaining 2013 hit "The Call," this woman-in-peril movie sat on the shelf due to the financial problems of its distributor at the time, Relativity Films. Nearly everything about it rings false, from the moment that Berry gets that big cell phone call that puts her and her son in peril.

The first act of "Kidnap" is best when Berry is chasing down the kidnappers in a fast-paced fight on wheels; when it slows down, any sense of coherency that the film is holding to goes out the window with some sort of muddled plot about child abduction that's never fully explained. Give Berry's character a little time and she'll ultimately do what the police aren't able to do: retrieve her young son from two hillybilly kidnappers (Chris McGinn and "The Walking Dead's" Lew Temple).

On top of that, she must go way, way out of her way - to some inexplicably deserted, dead-end road in the middle of the forest, just to hunt down her son. It doesn't help that Berry is forced to talk to herself in her car, to let the audience know exactly what her next move is. We already know she's one determined mama, and by the way, if you're unsure from the trailers what her son's name, it's Frankie, and she says it about a kajillion times, to the point you hope she's finds him just so she won't have to say his name a few more times.

Berry is a gifted actress who isn't without grit, but she's worthy of a much better movie than the piece of junk that is "Kidnap," which has Redbox rental written all over it. Some of her fan base may turn out, but the rest may be seeing Idris Elba this weekend.

#kidnap #halleberry #luisprieto #knaltegwaltney