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Never Let Go

Score: 60%
Rating: R
Publisher: Sony Pictures Home

Region: 1
Media: DVD/1
Running Time: 94 Mins.
Genre: Thriller/Action
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French,

Never Let Go is a thriller about a single mother whose infant daughter is kidnapped while on vacation, and the lengths to which she'll go to get her back. Sounds like an exciting premise, right? I thought so too, but the actual film left me a bit cold.

The film begins with a young British couple, Emma (Samantha Bolter) and Tom (Michael Xavier), who are planning what to do on their vacation in a foreign, yet unspecified country, while their toddler son Jake lies sleeping in the other room. The unthinkable happens and little Jake is kidnapped and his parents are devastated.

Fast-forward some time (however long it takes for a missing child poster of Jake to deteriorate in the elements) and we have Lisa Brennan (Angela Dixon), who has a baby daughter named Sophie and is living with her mother, Maria (Lisa Eichhorn), having suffered some sort of setback. She seems to be suffering from depression, possibly over the guilt of her father's death some time ago, although we don't get clarity on that situation until much further in the film. Her mother encourages her to take a vacation with the "allowance" she's received and Lisa decides to do just that, especially after seeing campaign coverage for Clark Anderson (Nigel Whitmey), who we later discover is the father of baby Sophie and married to someone else.

So where does Lisa go to relax? Well, I'm not really sure, but wherever it was had Arabic writing everywhere and was rather dusty with outdoor marketplaces aplenty. When I think ideal vacay, I don't think Middle East, personally. I am not trying to be ugly, but it just seemed a really foolish choice for a woman traveling alone with an infant and that is made blindingly clear within the first few minutes of Lisa's taxi ride, where she feels somewhat threatened. Now, mind you, Lisa can handle herself. After all, we discover she was on Clark Anderson's security team in some fashion, after she calls him once she has settled into the hotel. But Clark is waffling on having to tell his wife about Lisa and Sophie, so there's that.

The next day, she and baby Sophie are off to the beach and the infant is kidnapped out from under her nose as a local tries to sell her something. Lisa gives chase, rather impressively, and manages to catch up to one of the men who appears to have been working with the distracting beach salesman, and a fight (and a car accident) ensues. So now the local police are after her and she is still actively chasing the vehicle the other men got into when they left their friend behind. She does some strange maneuvers with her fingers in the air and that tells her which way to go. Was she using the sun to guide her? Was she listening for her baby in busy street? Was she smelling for her child? I don't know, but she's off again, traversing the rooftops in bare feet well enough to make Lara Croft proud, (although she is later wearing shoes, so I'm not sure where she got them) .

She is able to steal a car and follow them for a while, managing to call old CIA friend Jeanette Burrows (Heather Peace) and ask her for help, although she is vague because apparently, Sophie is a secret baby. While Jeanette is working stateside and doing everything she can to help (although she has no real reason why), Lisa is racking up some serious criminal cred as wanted posters for her start going up everywhere and hitting the media. It seems the police don't buy her story about a missing baby and what's worse, there seems to be a conspiracy working against Lisa as bit by bit, every trace of baby Sophie is being eliminated, from her belongings in the hotel room, to her travel record on the plane. Something is afoot...

Lisa knows that the chances of finding her child are growing slim with every hour that passes, but she continues to run through the streets, searching. Fortunately, from time to time, some locals are kind to her, but the Eastern European men that took Sophie aren't the least bit kind and don't like the attention of the police circling this troublesome mother, who seems far more skilled than the average mom. After all, they've got a thriving human trafficking business to think about.

Lisa's search brings her to discover a missing poster that Jake's parents had put up and she connects with them, gathering additional clues. However, considering her substantial injuries by this time, and the police closing in on her, it's going to take a miracle for Lisa to rescue her baby before Sophie is handed off to the "buyer" for whatever fate lies ahead for her.

Personally, I just found Never Let Go too unrealistic. Yes, people can have mad fighting skills, but there was just too much going on here for me to take it seriously. I wasn't really surprised by the ending and I also found the directing style a bit jarring at times. It reminded me a little bit of some older Danny Boyle stuff, but not in a good way. While the cover compares this film to Taken, and at one point, she all but says "I have a certain set of skills," it just wasn't nearly as engaging as that flick. The acting wasn't great but it wasn't terrible either, I just found the premise to be a bit ridiculous.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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