Ransom Movie Review

Ransom is a smarter than your average thriller about a hostage situation. It contains intelligent characters who constantly try to outwit each other. The film doesn't take a lot of risks, but it packs surprise after surprise, and the strong central character and his performance keeps the movie above water... even if it could have been better.

The ever-popular Mel Gibson stars as a wealthy airline owner named Tom Mullen, who lives with his wife, Kate (Rene Russo), and son, Sean (Brawly Nolte), in Central Park. Kate and Tom take Sean to a science fair where several money hungry thieves kidnap him. The villains are not terrorists, not psychopaths, not serial killers, but rather three-dimensional, ordinary people. The movie gives the bad guys a lot of color and screen time; and we eventually care about their fate as well as the fate of the Mullen family.

The movie doesn't attempt to keep the identity of the kidnapper a secret. He's Jimmy, a New York City cop (they always work for the government) played by Gary Sinise. Jimmy stages his crew at a local shack where they blindfold Sean and tie him to a bed. His crew consists of his girlfriend, Maris (Lili Taylor), who once worked for Tom, a computer hacker (Evan Handler), and two lowlife bothers (Liev Schreiber and Donnie Wahlberg), who have various feelings about their role in the kidnapping.

The FBI becomes involved with the case, of course. An expert in kidnapping (Delroy Lindo) tells Tom to pay the ransom of two million bucks -- a small sum of money compared to Tom's fortune. Tom becomes convinced that the kidnappers will kill his child anyway. He changes the ransom money into a reward for the person who turns the enemy into the police.

The star-studded cast members provide their characters with stellar performances. Gibson brings the tension of the situation to life. The movie takes advantage of Russo, whose part as the wife is often underused in similar thrillers. Gary Sinise paints a vivid, taut portrait of the organized mastermind, and Lili Taylor contributes an emotional touch to the action-packed story.

Screenwriters Richard Price and Alexander Ignon create the situation with a strong understanding of their story. This movie offers a good twist on the genre. The tension grows, the stakes continually increase, the suspense rises. It ends like a trooper, a little quick, but the conclusion gets the job done.

A handful of deleted scenes and commentary by Ron Howard can be found on the new special edition DVD along with a behind the scenes featurette.

The wait is on.


Ransom Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: R, 1996


More Mel Gibson

Robert Downey Jr Ready For Iron Man 4, If Mel Gibson Directs

Robert Downey Jr will sign on for Iron Man 4, on one condition. The actor is open to a return to play Tony Stark if...

Robert Downey Jr Would Do ‘Iron Man’ 4, If Mel Gibson Was Allowed To Direct

Any Iron Man fans who might have had an emotional meltdown over the prospect of Robert Downey Jr not returning for a fourth movie can...

The Expendables 3 Reassembles The Troops

Sylvester Stallone and his franchise for ageing action stars is back! Yes, the gang has nearly doubled for the latest Expendables adventure, stirring in big-named...

The Expendables 3 Movie Review

Striking a tone somewhere between the po-faced original and the silly Part 2, this rampaging action nonsense is badly overcrowded and chaotic, but there's plenty...


'The Expendables 3' Is Saved By Mel Gibson's Clever Conrad Stonebanks

The Expendables 3 isn't great -but you knew that already. It's essentially Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham shooting people's heads off, so it can't be...

'Mad Max' Director George Miller "Heartbroken" over Mel Gibson's Plight

George Miller, director of Mad Max: Fury Road, says he is "heartbroken" over the personal plight of Mel Gibson - the star of the original...

The Expendables 3 Trailer

The cast of 'The Expendables 3' discuss the upcoming action film in a short featurette. Among them are Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford, Glen Powell, Sylvester...

A Week In Movies: Gibson's Major Award, Special Screenings In New York, Set Photos From London And Three Big Trailers

This is a week when most attention was on the sporting world, with the Wimbledon finals, the Formula One British Grand Prix and the Tour...