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I had this review (March 2009) on my previous blog, but as I just watched the film again, why not transfer it over here and update:  It was supposed to be a normal morning, sending off the son to school and discussing dinner with the maid, when all of a sudden a group of brutes breaks into Jessica Martin’s house, shoots the maid, and takes her captive. They are asking her about her husband and where he is, and threaten to kill her and her whole family. She insists “You have the wrong family!”, but it increasingly seems that this husband – a mere real-estate agent – got involved in something nasty and dangerous. From her cell, she manages to cross some wires of a broken phone and establishes a call with a complete stranger: Ryan’s interest is to chill out on the beach, gets into his girl’s scantily used pants and show off his sixpack and the pretty-boy face on Venice Beach. Jessica manages to convince him, however, to help her safe her and her family. A chase taking him all across the city starts.

The idea is very simple and hence rather good and straightforward. Nothing worse than a complicated setting for me, and a refreshing change after all the plot twist ridden movies of the last couple of weeks. There are no plot twists here, everything plays out exactly as you think it will from early on. We only learn very late about the actual reasons for the kidnapping, and this McGuffin does not really matter for the film to be a decent thrill anyway. Most of the time the acting persons are completely unaware of the reasons, either. The car chases are too long (I mentioned on occasion I find car chases terribly boring, did I not? Why is nobody listening???), the characters are flat and the efforts at humour a bit strained (the Porsche lawyer…), but there is Jason Statham doing his Jason Statham thing, and there is Kim Basinger doing her mature desirable woman thing (works even better for me when her face is a bit battered after a hard kidnapping, wakes my protecting instincts), there is William H Macy as a cop doing his William H Macy thing in a seaweed mask and with a gun. There are innovations, though: Would you ever expect Macy to jump sideways, pulling the trigger in the fall 10 times, Bruce Willis style? Equally new was that Statham does not lose his shirt. Not once! Not even a little bit!! And there is the cute kid who is a bit scared, but then again has the time of his life playing cop and robber and being a clever hero. Quite fun, if you are in a hotel room, it’s late and the concentration span is not enough for an Italian arthouse film or a dialogue-heavy “Newsroom” episode. Second time I saw it was on a plane, just perfect for that setting, 90 minutes of solid entertainment.

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