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Ransom (1996)

Someone is going to pay

Directed by:

Ron HowardRon Howard

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 121 minutes

UK Certificate: 18


I love the moment where Mel Gibson, playing a sort of non-offensive Richard Branson, yells ‘GIVE ME BACK MY SON!’ down the phone at his sprog’s kidnapper. It’s around about this point that ‘Ransom’ turns from straight-down-the-middle generic abduction thriller to something a bit different. It gets a little darker, a little more inventive, and considerably more interesting.

Gibbers is Tom Mullen, the high-flying (groan) boss of a successful airline who’s spent the past three months trying to hide the fact that he’s been bribing union officials. Sensing from the media coverage that our man’s ‘a payer’, bent copper Gary Sinise pulls together a gang of knuckle-draggers, nabs Tom’s son (Brawley Nolte – Nick Nolte’s real-life offspring, don’tcha know), and demands the big bucks for his safe return.

After initially jumping through various hoops at the whim of his son’s captors, Tom eventually hatches a plan to give this nasty piece of work some food for thought. And, though I can’t say what it is here because it would give the whole hook of the film away, it’s bloody good.

‘Ransom’ at first appears to be shaping up as an instantly forgettable and unapologetically mainstream thriller – but some wonderful twists around the midway point make the second half of this movie an unexpected treat. Director Ron ‘Richie’ Howard doesn’t quite get to grips with letting us into what makes the lead characters tick. But there’s a genuinely thrilling plot that will keep your eyes fixed to the screen with increasing intensity as things progress.

It's Got: An unexpectedly violent ending.

It Needs: To be persisted with – the opening can be a little dull, but the story that unfolds is worth the wait.

DVD Extras Directors audio commentary, deleted scenes. What Would You Do? featurette. Between Takes and theatrical trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 6/10


Ransom (1956 original version), The Fugitive


Great Friday night popcorn fodder – well worth a rent.

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