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ransom.jpg (51531 bytes)
click for full sized poster

Ransom

Starring Mel Gibson, Rene Russo,
Gary Sinise, and Delroy Lindo
Directed by Ron Howard

Ron Howard has had a career that any mom could be proud of. Television star. Accomplished film producer and director. Oscar nominee. Cranky admits that in general he likes the movies that Ron Howard makes, though Howard does have a tendency to go long or be a bit cloying. When he holds back, he delivers the money full blast. His latest flick, a thriller called Ransom, cuts pretty close to the bone.

Tom Mullen (Mel Gibson) is the proverbial self-made man. He started with one airplane, a fly anywhere anytime kind of business, and built it into "Endeavor Airlines, the fourth largest airline.") He's a handsome man with a beautiful wife named Kate (Rene Russo) and a cute boy kidlet named Sean (Brawley Nolte, son of actor Nick Nolte). Tom has millions of dollars to his name. For subplot intrigue there's dirt in his closet, but it's nothing you need to hear about from me.

Which is the problem posed by all thrillers; how much can I tell you without giving it all away? Cranky's rule of thumb is tell nothing more than what is seen in the trailer or television commercial. So let's get to it and see what other beans I spill.

From the title alone you know that the kidlet is kidnapped and held for a $2 million ransom. From the trailer you probably also know that for some reason Gibson turns the tale topsy turvy and offers the ransom money as a bounty on the head(s) of the kidnapper, whether his son is dead or alive.

Yes, there is the usual demand that no cops or FBI be brought into the case. Yes, a most excellent supporting cast -- a cop (Gary Sinise) and an FBI man (Delroy Lindo) become involved. Yes, Mullen gets angry and spews rage and venom across the screen before going live on television to make his outrageous offer.

Buy the premise, buy the flick.

Cranky bought the premise. Not enough for knuckle-biting, edge of the seat ride, but close enough for rock 'n' roll. Every confrontation and every decision made in the film has a sensible reason and a logical conclusion. The good guys aren't so good. The bad guys aren't smart enough to be classic stereotypes and the parents in the middle jump through all the emotional ropes you'd expect them to. There are enough surprises and cat-and-mouse play to keep everything much more than interesting. But only at the denouement was the thrill at edge-of-the-seat level. For me.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Ransom, he would have paid . . .

$6.50

It was half a buck higher when I walked out of the theater, but thinking about it...if I had had a kidlet of my own, I would have paid any price to keep him/her alive. Then again, if I had the kind of money that Gibson's character did, and what happens in the flick happened to me, I can't be sure I wouldn't agree with him.

Don't you hate it when I refuse to give anything away?

Click to buy films by Ron Howard
Click to buy films starring Mel Gibson
Click to buy films starring Rene Russo

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