Movie Review: Ransom

© 1997 Dan Heller

Quick Review: Somewhat of a formula flick with a few interesting ideas. Good acting, production value, directing; makes for a fun night out. There's no question this is an entertaining movie. It's hard to go wrong with the highest quality people in the movie business making such a film. But...

Synopsis: Airline Mogul, Tom Mullen (Mel Gibson), is a tough businessman, but when his son is kidnapped, he is forced to balance his emotions with his better judgment about how to deal with the kidnapper. His strong business background gives him the balls and the strength of his convictions to play against the odds and confront the kidnapper. He does so, as properly portayed in the previews, by using the ransom money as a reward for anyone that turns him in instead.

Review: There's a lot of positives to this movie, including great acting, directing and production value. The basic human theme of the movie is Mel Gibson's torment; the events that lead him to reason that negotiation with the kidnapper is futile are obvious, tho still well done. And for this, the movie has a great premise. (Aside from the fact that the first hour goes by before we get to this point, but that's ok.) The plot is straightforward with few surprises. In fact, other than Mel Gibon's character, most of the other characters are two dimensional. The kidnapper really has no interesting motive, there are no odd relationships going on, no controversial subplots or anything that makes us, the viewers, torn between the options for dealing with the problem. It's just plain, straightfoward, vengence...with a passion. It's too easy to know what to do (and what *we'd* do), and that his course of action is the only reasonable one, tough as it may be. Fine, but with such an obvious resolution, we get annoyed at the other characters that disagree with him.

There is no bad dialog, no campy special effects or stunts, no stupid plot twists, no dumb relationships, no contrived circumstances just to move the plot along. If you want these, see a Jan de Bont movie (Twister or Speed). But, I feel it's wrong to say that Ransom is a good movie simply because it isn't a *bad* movie, but that's how I seem to be rating movies this year. (How awful!) I guess my basic feeling is, Ransom is a reasonable action/suspect/drama movie that could have (*should* have) been done by Jan De Bont using lesser known actors who need to get out and show their stuff, and using a much smaller budget. It shouldn't take this much firepower to make this kind of movie. It's like the US invading Haiti -- it's an overkill.
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