Mom chases kidnapper
As far as having a really, really bad day, Halle Berry’s Karla in “Kidnap” easily takes the crown.
The title lets us know upfront that Karla will lose her son pretty fast as “Kidnap” revs up into a solidly constructed, if completely preposterous, high-speed chase.
Karla’s son Frankie (Sage Correa, 9, and soon to be Pig-Pen in a “Peanuts” TV series) is sweetly trouble-free but mostly a prop who doesn’t get to do much. Karla, a diner waitress and divorced mom sharing custody with her rich ex and his new pediatrician fiancee, is the hardest-working woman we’ve ever seen.
Once Frankie goes missing in the highly populated city park, Karla luckily spots Frankie in a distant parking lot being hauled into a blue ’80s Mustang GT by a blond woman.
Karla races to her red SUV — and the chase is on. But because her mobile was dropped running to her car, Karla can’t call 911.
But she can — and does — talk out loud to herself. For the next 20 minutes, it’s Berry’s one-woman show, filling us in on her thoughts and demonstrating her fierce determination (“I will NOT lose my son!”).
The kidnappers can only take so much of this crazed mom speeding after them. To Karla’s horror, Frankie is held outside the speeding Mustang’s door, a knife to his throat.
Emphatically Karla is being told to get lost if she wants her boy to stay alive.
But she can’t stop. She won’t give up.
Yes, around this juncture with the dangerous pursuit and assorted cars crashing, you can’t help wonder: Where are the cops?
When one on a motorcycle finally appears, he’s not terribly effective.
Berry, however, is. On camera virtually in close-up for 90-odd minutes, she roars along, chewing the scenery, impossible to resist.
As she descends from being simply frantic and freaked to an avenging she-wolf, what matters doesn’t have to make sense.
Bodies pile up, gruesomely. Cars are demolished. The horror of what is actually happening is ever so slowly revealed.
If “Kidnap” is Berry’s tour de force, Chris McGinn, as the scariest and most merciless kidnapper, manages a few moments in the spotlight.
(“Kidnap” is all about a child in mortal danger.)