Reviewed by: Dale Mason
What if you were rich? What if you were famous? What if your child, your only child, was kidnapped?!
This superbly directed film is more than the average sit-back-and-relax type of entertainment. It reaches deep into the emotions of a family in crisis and sweeps its viewers into a suspense-filled, action packed journey. It concludes in a way that all who cherish justice demand.
Tom Mullen is a handsome CEO who has built one of the largest airlines in America. Highly regarded for his business skill and negotiating expertise, Tom (Mel Gibson) is married to a lovely, supportive wife (Rene Russo). They have one son.
Together they experience the extreme anguish of waiting and hoping that their son is still alive. The kidnappers have made their demands clear, and the result of noncompliance emphatic.
Without his authorization, Tom is followed by the FBI to the drop point of his son’s two million dollar ransom. However, the nighttime drop is foiled when helicopters filled with sharpshooters explode into the cold black silence and kill one of the kidnapper’s accomplices. Now convinced that the heartless criminals will never release his son alive, Tom makes a surprising, impassioned television announcement, turning the ransom money into a bounty on the head of the crime’s mastermind. “Two million dollars for the first person to turn in the leader, dead or alive.”
This is the first of two major, unexpected twists in this mesmerizing fantasy.
While “Ransom” is free of any sex or nudity (except for one scene of a man’s bare rear), it is replete with crude speech and obscenities, especially the “F” word, which is spewed at least 50 times.
As with his previous blockbuster (“Apollo 13”), director Ron Howard has delivered a product that exhibits many of the best aspects of the film making craft. But I think I speak for millions when I say that I wish that Mr. Howard would have toned the language and graphic violence down to a “PG-13” level. Doing so would not have negatively impacted the force of the story (the drama itself is extremely compelling), but would have left fewer images of exploding chests, etc., for viewers to be callused by.