It would be easy to write-off Halle Berry's latest thriller as just another film to let slide to Netflix or cable were it not for one thing: Halle Berry. She not only gets top billing, she is literally ninety percent of the film and improves it from a scrap heap film.


Director Luis Prieto's adaptation of writer Knate Lee's story surely go financing only because he was somehow able to nail down Berry when they began shooting in 2014. Yes, the journey of this film from concept to big screen is more interesting than the film itself. It was originally scheduled to be released in 2015 but was pushed back a few times as film distributor Relativity filed for bankruptcy. Then, Relativity lost the writes to the film to Aviron Pictures - as their first film.

The film starts out with unbelievably super-cute waitress Karla (Berry) taking her perfect cute son Frankie (Sage Correa) to the local fair for fun and games. One of the things that Frankie likes to do is play hide and seek with mom, which he does at the fair just as she receives a call from her ex. Her ex wants custody of Frankie and this causes Karla to take her eye off Frankie for one second.


Zap! Just like that a couple of red-necks grab Frankie and drag him off to their awaiting Mustang. Karla notices she doesn't see Frankie and begins a frantic search for him. She espies the seriously slow kidnappers shoving Frankie into their car and quick as a flash, Karla goes after them - dropping her cell phone on in the process.


No worries, Karla has a mini-van and will pursue them to the end. Yes folks, that's right...she is chasing the Mustang in a minivan and gaining ground. To its credit, this is where film editor Avi Youabian was wise in saving lots of stunt coordinator Lex Geddings' terrific car chase. Along with Halle's believable frantic mom performance, it is what sells the film.


Sadly, the story is too much like "Taken" with a really hot, tough female slant to it. You know that when Karla gets her hands on these kidnappers, it's going to be lights out! She on her own as there is no amber alert, virtually no cops and kidnappers who are as smart as Lenny (from "Of Mice and Men").


No one else in the film matters much, even Frankie is merely a prop as the focus is strictly on Halle and how amazingly gorgeous she is and oh... fit and tough too. 2017 will go down as the year of the tough movie actress.


"Kidnap" is saved from the dumpster by a strong convincing performance by Halle Berry who shrugs off the weak script and once again demonstrates that she's a hell of an actress.   -- GEOFF BURTON