Kidnap Blu-ray Review

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Halle Berry In a Car: The Movie

Halle Berry is an instant screen heroine in Kidnap. A single mother, a hard working waitress, and locked in a custody battle with her affluent ex-husband; everything is against her. Berry can only move up in her on-screen life. She’s the scrappy underdog archetype sure to rescue her kid.

Kidnap is the full realization of the old saying, “Evil flourishes when good people do nothing.” Berry does something: She stomps on the gas pedal of her minivan and barrels down the expressway after the culprits who kidnapped her son. Never mind the multi-car pile-ups caused by the chase; there’s a kid in harm’s way.

There’s a sense slipshod editing happened between the 2015 planned release and now

There’s not much to Kidnap. At under 80-minutes, near an hour of that is spent with Berry in her van, staring out of her windshield. It’s hard not to see the inherent repetition. Of note, Kidnap sat on the shelf for some time due to bankruptcy problems on the studio’s part. There’s a sense slipshod editing happened between the 2015 planned release and now. Bizarre black out edits appear to patch together footage. A fight inside a tunnel is littered with continuity errors, as if the footage lacked coherency. A lot of Kidnap feels rescued.

The work is enough to propel the B-level action, generic score, and passable performances. The climax offers some chills as Berry enters the home of the perpetrators. They’re easy villains: scuzzy, trashy, shotgun-toting types, readily detestable based on appearance. That’s all of their character depth too. Frustrations with police inaction and errors in judgment create an acceptable audience movie – viewers can shout at the screen or laugh at the action.

Kidnap is, if nothing else, briskly paced. Even when chunks of Kidnap feel padded by shots of Berry hunched over a steering wheel, tension stays high. Considering how direct and relatively plotless this movie is, tension is all Kidnap has.

Cue a number of car crashes, flips, and rear-end collisions for a bit of visual impact. Often, those act as a release, a means just to pause and recuperate. Within those gaps, dialog happens, usually a variation on, “Help me!” or “They have my son!” The rest is mostly exposition for the sake of the audience, just enough to skim the basics. And basics is all Kidnap offers.

Video

Instances of rough encoding continue throughout Kidnap. In the earliest scenes, Berry’s red diner outfit shows significant chroma noise. Expect that to reappear on occasion. Some lower resolution cameras come into play on occasion for difficult angles. That’s okay. Not so much is a battle in a car, passing through a tunnel; the action is decorated more by chunky compression than the fight.

Outside of compression concerns, Universal’s disc is fine. Cinematography isn’t consistent. Considering the conditions, that’s no surprise. Still, detail filters in, capturing nuance in Berry’s face when in close. Aerial shots of the Louisiana locations perform well, showing the winding freeways.

The original release date of October 2015 means a production schedule sometime back in 2014. Kidnap looks a little behind in terms of digital filmmaking. Progress in resolution and camera quality passed Kidnap by in the interim. Luckily, color grading is able to bring out some strong, warmer hues to add vibrancy. Contrast remains high and into the nighttime finale, black levels stake their claim.

Audio

Work on the audio side mirrors what looks like a smaller budget. Entering into a park in the first act, Berry is surrounded by screaming kids and a local fair. It’s lively atmosphere, if held to the front channels. Rear speaker use in this DTS-HD mix feels faint anywhere but the road.

In her car, traffic pans between channels cleanly. There’s a constant sense of direction if the score isn’t overpowering. Balance skews toward the music, which carries a deep thump when at its peak. The subwoofer assists when cars begin smashing into one another. It’s strong too, creating a firm, powerful rumble.

Extras

Don’t even bother with the three-minute A Look Inside Kidnap. It’s a story recap EPK featurette and the only extra.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional eight Kidnap screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 7,000+ already in our library), exclusive UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.