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Fasten your seat belts!
SmileysWorld29 September 2001
This is definitely one of those films that grabs a hold of you and does not seem to want to let go.Ron Howard's excellent direction and Mel Gibson giving perhaps the performance of his career make this film worth seeing.Those of us who have children, although many of us may not have the courage to push the limits as Gibson's character did here,may appreciate this movie more so than those who do not.In fact,I might have been more reserved and cautious,even though I love my son just as much.This is a definite thrill ride from start to finish,and if you have a strong enough heart to handle it,then this film is definitely for you.
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This movie is worth it's money
blairgallop72 February 2008
A bit of a confusing movie but well worth it's money,Ransom does not fail to deliver a couple of good performances from some good actors.Mel Gibson stars as Tom Mullen,a businessman who runs a huge aircraft firm who has his son kidnapped by a group of people.Rene Russo delivers a good performance as Kate Mullen who is the mother of Sean Mullen who was kidnapped and also the wife of Tom Mullen.Gary Sinise delivers a fine performance as Detective Jimmy Shaker as well as Delroy Lindo as FBI Agent Lonnie Hawkins.If this movie was dramatic,I was surprised that Mel Gibson wasn't nominated for a lead actor Oscar but was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor-Drama.It is a shame for a movie that is a good drama/thriller.
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Never mess with a businessman
moviesleuth210 January 2010
"Ransom" is no ordinary kidnapping thriller. It's a tense and believable thrill ride where even the people who seem to be in control are in fact not. And they know it.

Self-made airline tycoon Tom Mullen (Mel Gibson) has it all: a beautiful wife (Rene Russo), an intelligent young son (Brawley Nolte), and a thriving business. That's all about to change when his son is kidnapped. The FBI, led by Lonnie Hawkins (Delroy Lindo), is on the case, but after a mishap, Tom loses confidence in their abilities to get his son back. Tom decides to turn the tables on the kidnappers: he's offering the 2 million dollar ransom as a bounty for the kidnappers.

The best thing about "Ransom" is that no one knows who's in control. Tom may be calling the shots, but he's very aware that this gamble could end in disaster, something that neither his wife, Lonnie, nor the kidnappers are happy about. However, it also could turn in his favor: the kidnappers know that this is an opportunity to get the whole ransom that they were going to split between them.

Mel Gibson is one of the biggest names in Hollywood, and for good reason: not only is he very photogenic, he's an effective performer. Mullen is a desperate man, but taking risks is what he does best. Gibson is well-cast in the role. Rene Russo was the go-to female star for mainstream movies, but her career has fallen recently. While she's no Meryl Streep, she's a good actress. She doesn't have the juiciest part, but she's no mere housewife, and Russo makes the most of it. I've never been a fan of Delroy Lindo; his delivery seems pretty hammy in his performances, and there's no reason why Lonnie couldn't have been played by someone better. Gary Sinise is good, but too low-key.

Ron Howard started his career as a teenage actor, but now he's one of the hottest directors in Hollywood. Howard knows how to make a movie. "Ransom" is suspenseful and unpredictable. It's efficiently made and involving. What more could one ask for? The only problem I have with the film is the ending. It's not what happens (it's more or less inevitable), but Howard obviously did it the way he did as a concession to the studios: the last couple of minutes are so wildly improbable and over the top it destroys the taut level of suspense that has been built up.

Nevertheless, the majority of the film is well worth it.
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Terrific acting complements great script
Dar Star23 December 1998
This is how it should be done, an exciting, exhilarating movie with great acting and a terrific script which grabs a hold of you and never lets go. Mel Gibson is fabulous (I'd almost forgotten he could act after all those lame Lethal Weapon movies). Gary Sinise, Rene Russo, and Delroy Lindo are equally superb. The viewer is always kept on the edge like you're a member of the Mullen household waiting to see if Tom will ever see his son again. Five stars *****
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The most underrated movie of all time on IMDb?
Gm7lax5 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
6.6??????? Are we kidding here people...Mel Gibson comes off his Oscar Winning film Braveheart to star in Ransom with an all star cast and gets so little credit. It sickens me. Gary Sinise now ranks as one of the most notorious villains after his role as Jimmy Shaker in Ransom, one of the best performances I can remember in recent thriller history. Gibson lights up the screen and is backed by Ron Howard's brilliance and yet so few people appreciate his work. He has proved he can direct (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Splash) and Ransom only solidifies this stance. Ransom will keep you on the edge of your seat for 2 hours, culminating in a showdown between Gibson and Sinise that won't be soon forgotten. Also, the lack of plot holes in the movie make it even more believable, mostly because of the brilliance that is shown in its simplicity, i.e., Gibson will go to any means possible to get his son back, period. Check this movie out asap and do it justice by giving it a higher rating than 6.6!
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Good Thriller!
kenandraf5 January 2003
Good action thriller that actually gets better as the movie progresses.Good all around production and will satisfy most fans of this genre.Very good performance by Gibson.Could have been better if it had an even higher quality script.Not a typical average pop thriller.Has a good edge to it.Only for fans of the genre and for big fans of the lead actors......
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Definitely worth your time
slightlymad221 September 2014
After being reminded how good an actor Mel Gibson can be in Expendables 3, I have decided to revisit some of his earlier work.

This time around i decided to watch 1996's Ransom.

I saw this in the cinema when it was released, but for some reason I have never revisited it. And I had totally forgotten how good this movie is!!

All the cast are superb. I cannot praise them highly enough here. Gibson who has contributed some tough fisted, hard as nails characters over the years is perfect as the vulnerable panic stricken father. Re teaming with Gibson after Lethal Weapon 3 is Rene Russo who is excellent as the desperate mother. Gary Sinese, Delroy Lindo, Donnie Whalberg, Liev Shrieber and Paul Guilfoyle are all solid support. There is not one weak link in the cast

Ron Howard has directed a movie that is a highly professional piece of work, swift and suspenseful, with a good sense of pace and atmosphere it makes for perfect entertainment.

Gibson is truly a great actor, and hopefully he can sort his personal problems and demons out, because as we all know Hollywood loves comebacks.
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Can't miss with this one
gcd702 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Popular director Ron Howard ( "Backdraft", "Night Shift", "Parenthood", "Apollo 13" ) again delivers a risk free, sure fire hit with "Ransom". When you've got a volatile subject, a solid, if somewhat crowd pleasing script and Mel Gibson playing the everyman type hero, how can you miss?

Richard Price and Alexander Ignon have delivered a screenplay that grabs the attention early, and though it lulls somewhat in the early stages after a pacey start, the tension that is generated in the final third of the film is truly tangible.

Gibson is easy to identify with as self made multi-millionaire Tom Mullen, and he is most believable as the father desperate to find his son. Evergreen Mel improves as the movie progresses, yet one can't help but wonder how much of a stretch this role is for him. For an actress of obvious talent, Rene Russo gets very little to do, yet she does well as the anxious mother praying for the return of her lost child. The support cast are perhaps the movie's real strength, with Delroy Lindo hard to miss as the FBI man in charge of the operation trying to find the boy ( Brawley Nolte ). Even more impressive though is Gary Sinise as detective Jimmy Shaker. Indeed an eye catching about face for an actor accustomed to 'lighter' roles ( "Apollo 13", "Forrest Gump" ).

Editors Dan Hanley and Michael Hill could perhaps have tightened up the first half of the film, but their work on the latter half is most commendable. The music from Howard Shore is right on the mark, as is the cinematography from Piotr Sobocinski. Director Ronny never pretends to be delivering any more than professional, reliable entertainment with a few small surprises. The result is a safe bet, a good night out.

Sunday, November 17, 1996 - Hoyts Forest Hill Chase
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Great film.
Brad K.3 October 1998
Mel Gibson (Braveheart, Maverick) stars as the rich father of a kidnapped boy, played by Brawley Nolte (Nick Nolte's son). The kidnappers give a ransom of 2 million dollars. Rene Russo (Outbreak, Major League) plays his wife. Delroy Lindo (Clockers, Get Shorty) plays the head FBI agent on the case. Gary Sinise plays a New York cop. Gibson soon starts to doubt the chances of the ransom working, so he changes the ransom to a bounty on the kidnapper's head. The film is well-directed by Ron Howard (Apollo 13, Cocoon). The story line is gripping and well-written. Mel Gibson is excellent as the father. Rene Russo and Gary Sinise are good in their roles. Delroy Lindo delivers the best supporting performance, he plays the agent very convincingly. A suspenseful, entertaining, and overall great film. Rating R: (violence, language)
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Mixed results
SKG-214 September 1999
After the terrific APOLLO 13, I thought Ron Howard was ready to move on to even bigger things, Mel Gibson is good when he's given the chance to act, Richard Price is one of my favorite writers, Lili Taylor is one of my favorite actresses, and the trailer really rocked, so I was primed to see this. But it's somewhat disappointing. The filmmakers try to make a flawed hero, and Gibson certainly is that, not afraid to make his character unlikable, and we even get the psychology of a man used to having his way not having his way, and how he reacts to that. And most of the rest of the cast is good(with one exception I'll get to in a moment). As a fan of Taylor, I was especially pleased at how she was used. While she doesn't have a lot of dialogue, she gets to develop her character in a way her fellow villains don't because Howard has her on camera a lot, and she expresses a lot with her face.

But the other villains aren't well-developed. The one wrong performance(not bad, wrong) is by Gary Sinise; he tries, but he's just not convincing here, mostly sounding forced. And the last 15 minutes are melodramatic and unconvincing. The elements were all there, but it doesn't deliver.
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Good plot, typically stupid American ending
cliff-1922 October 2001
Warning: Spoilers
This whole section is one big spoiler, so please only read if you want to or already know the end. The wild shootout at the bank was obviously forced on the director by the studio heads, since it was so out of character and pacing. So typical of why I dislike American movies. If this were a French or British movie, it would have ended with the wounded Jimmy collecting the reward and retiring in Florida. The audience would have cheered his pluckiness. If it had been a Russian film, Jimmy would have become mayor or governor and taken out perfectly legal revenge against Tom. Other filmmakers would have had Jimmy's girl turn on the hoods with Jimmy. If it had been a Japanese film, Tom would have hired private detectives, eventually smoked Jimmy out and it would have been thrown out of court or some such. The class hatred angle was done so much better by Victor Hugo, I don't know why they bothered. The ending we got was the dumbest possible.
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They may take our lives, but they will never take our CHILDREN...
film-critic14 October 2009
"Ransom" is one of those films that defined the late 90s. With large budgets, larger than life sets, bigger stars, and predictable situations, "Ransom" demonstrates that overabundant Hollywood escapism. There was no worry that a Mel Gibson movie would flop – there was no concern that ticket prices would drive audiences away – there was no worries about putting $80 million dollars on the table because this had everything late-90s cinema goers wanted to see with their popcorn and soda. This movie was melodramatic; this gave audiences an evil guy that was loved in "Forrest Gump", and it kept us cool for nearly two hours. It had everything. This was a time of taking risks and pushing big names into theaters – now, well, (and one could argue "thankfully") that recycled magic has gone. A film like this could not exist today. The "safe" nature of this film would be pushed aside for quirky camera footage, younger actors, and less tears with more violence. Audiences have changed, and while I have grown up beyond the "Ransom" excitement, I was feeling this love/hate relationship with this film.

In 1996, when this film was being released, I was first being introduced to cinema. I was going to theater at any opportunity, I was being pulled into these less-than spectacular situations, and people like Gibson, Sinise, Russo, and Howard were idols because of what they could accomplish on screen. But like any child, I was pulled into the glamour, the hype, and the glitz, while in retrospect, the basics were being missed. Watching "Ransom", now thirteen years later, it just doesn't seem like the type of film that deserved wide release. Watching this film today, it felt more like a superimposed made-for-TV movie than a blockbuster. To begin, director Ron Howard was out of his element with this film. "Apollo 13", "Blackdraft", "Splash", even "Willow" seems to be more nature based dramas, so to feel him helming this violence-based drama, it just felt staged and unfocused. In the director commentary, Howard discusses how he attempted to use POV shots to convey the story and develop his characters, and while the idea was present, the execution just felt phony. The juggle between Gibson and Russo's perspective at times felt dizzy to the viewer. Yes, the details around a kidnapped child have that effect; it creates havoc for the viewer – ultimately missing stronger themes throughout. That isn't to say Howard didn't have some powerful shots with his cinematographer, overall "Ransom" just missed the strength behind the camera. Then, as if to overcompensate for this, Howard allows his actors to overpower the screen with their over-the-top characters. Gibson, a wealthy airline tycoon, goes from passive father to vengeful cynic (a la "Payback") in a mere instant, allowing – sadly - more drama to unfold between Russo and Sinise.

Who was the central focus of this film? This is an excellent question for Mr. Howard as well as the cast. Is Gibson the main character? Is his child the main character or merely the developing plot? Is the wooden Delroy Lindo a major player, or is Sinise just trying to keep up with Gibson's anger? Valid questions that, alas, cannot be answered by this film. "Ransom" attempts to bring too many twists and turns into an already filled suitcase, and the end result is catastrophe. If this would have merely been a story about Gibson reacting to the capture of his son, and Sinise never being revealed until the end, then "Ransom" would have successfully accomplished with what it set out to do. The pivotal ending would have been more controlled and dramatic, that this would have made this normal film stand proud. Instead, Howard incorporates two "family" dramas together, the Gibson family, and the jumbled undeveloped Sinise family whom includes Lili Taylor, Liev Schriber, Evan Handler, and Donnie Wahlberg. Again, this would work well on paper if we would have the opportunity to see via each perspective, but we do not even within the two hours. Therefore it becomes further unfocused, and disruptive to the central conflict.

Finally, the last twenty minutes were mere fluff. Not to give away plot, but it felt like it was placed there for those wishing Gibson would provide some much needed action to the screen. Nothing that developed, nothing that revealed, nothing that enhanced, merely staged action for a drunk with Hollywood money audience. It was shameful.

Overall, I disliked "Ransom". When I first began this review, I was in a love/hate relationship, but as I wrote I found more issues with this film. The lack of development between minor characters, the entire Jackie Brown subplot was embarrassing, and the scene in which Russo visits the church just wasted my time. The transitions between scenes and plots were lacking, which I blame directly on Howard's inability to control what was happening. He had a strong focus, but the execution is where it faltered. I do not see myself watching this film ever again – and ultimately will smile when seen on late night TV or in the dollar bin – that was the feel of "Ransom".

Grade: ** out of *****
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Average thriller but the kidnappers point of view is interesting and provide's some nice moments.
Boba_Fett113820 March 2005
What would happen in the movie was no big surprise to me really, thanks to the bad advertising for this movie, in which the main plot twist was already revealed.

Still "Ransom" is a very good watchable movie. OK calling it average maybe is not completely fair by me maybe, cause "Ransom" is more than average at times.

It really is good that this movies shows both sides of the kidnap, both the little boy's (Brawley Nolte, yes, indeed the son of...) parents (Mel Gibson, Rene Russo) and the kidnappers (Gary Sinise, Lili Taylor, Liev Schreiber, Donnie Wahlberg, Evan Handler.). The fact that it also shows the kidnappers is what makes this movie even more tense actually.

I'm sorry but I just can't stand Rene Russo in this movie. Her character really irritated me at times. Best actor is Gary Sinise who was really 'hot' in the mid-90's, ever since his Oscar nomination for one of my personal favorite movie's, "Forrest Gump". It was also nice to see the at the time fairly unknown actor Donnie Wahlberg, who also did a good job.

The music by James Horner is good, still I'm curious about the original Howard Shore score.

Yes the movie has some good moments and is perfectly watchable but it most certainly is not Ron Howard's or Mel Gibson's best. It also is not a movie that I enjoy watching multiple times. Also the original from 1956 is still a better movie even if it doesn't have action or a spectacular ending. At least it was more tense and less predictable as this movie was at times.


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Just As Great As I Remembered It Being!
michaelgarykelley199411 February 2019
I had a really weird experience surrounding this movie. I've been thinking about it off-and-on again, over the last month or so, and I was starting to think about getting a copy, sometime. I went to Goodwill with my fiancé, and we just so happened to find a copy on VHS, and it looked almost entirely unused. I bought it in a heartbeat, since the tag said it was only .50 cents. I just finished watching it, and I can vouch that it's just as great as it was when I saw it for the first-and only-time, probably ten years ago.

"Ransom", it turns-out, is directed by one of my favorite directors: Ron Howard. I never even knew that until this viewing, so many years later. It's such a tight, tense movie dealing with a rich man's son being kidnapped and held for a ransom. And yet, even though the premise can sound bland to someone whom hasn't seen the movie, it has some of the best twists and turns ever executed in a movie, in my opinion. It's such an awesome flick, and I can't recommend it enough to everyone I talk to. I hate that this movie has become a forgotten gem. It's better than "Taken", if you happen to like that movie.

The cast is exceptional, all around. Especially Mel Gibson and Gary Sinise. They both stole the show, here. I had even forgotten Sinise was in this film, until I picked it up, the other day. He's one of my all-time favorite actors, and that just added to how exciting it was to re-watch this stellar thriller. The cat is also filled with many, many faces I know you'll know, if you love movies with a passion.

The cinematography is something beautiful about "Ransom", as well. It just looks so nice, even on VHS (since that isn't a popular form of viewing film in 2019, I think it just goes to show how excellently made this film actually is).

I will also give you the heads-up about this: there's a lot of gore in "Ransom". Not to the levels of something's like "Hostel" or "Saw", but it's still pretty up-there. Which, in my opinion, made it all the more effective, compared to most thrillers that are put out, even to this day.

Don't leave this awesome movie in the 90s! Check it out, if you haven't seen this forgotten wonder of the thriller genre! You won't regret it!
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"The kid's gonna die when we don't need him any more."
classicsoncall20 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The passage of time has not been kind to this film. It was an IMDb Top 250 member back in 1996 but has fallen to a 6.6 rating as I write this. Personally, I don't get the low ranking. There are a handful of reviewers here who knock it for plot holes left unnamed, whereas I concentrate on a film to look for them and I really couldn't detect anything in the story line that didn't maintain a continuity toward the eventual resolution. One might challenge Tom Mullen's (Mel Gibson) decision to up the stakes against kidnapper Jimmy Shaker (Gary Sinise), but if I were Mullen, I think I might have gone for the same gambit. The clue Tom Mullen picked up from Cubby Barnes (Donnie Wahlberg) convinced him that this wasn't a straight ransom demand and that his son was probably marked for death anyway. The surprise if any is that Mullen's wife (Rene Russo) went along with his decision after initial misgivings. The scene that could have been handled better was when Shaker showed up at Mullen's apartment and Sean (Brawley Nolte) recognized his voice. The cutting back and forth between Tom and his son didn't do enough in my estimation to tip Tom off that Shaker was the kidnap mastermind. It was Shaker's own greed that provided the tip-off, which goes to show that the desire for even more money was his own undoing. If one wants to criticize any aspect of the story, I'd look at Tom Mullen's commitment to honoring ten times the ransom demand; how much more would that have been than the bribe to avert a machinist strike at his company?
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Only Ron Howard could make this bad of a movie
jack_thursby26 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
A movie like "Ransom" is so preposterous and unbelievable it could only be made by a person like Ron Howard. From Opie, to "Happy Days", to producing and directing, Ron Howard has spent his entire life in a Hollywood bubble, shielded from reality, so when he tries to make a gritty, realistic movie, it comes out like this. The only thing that raises "Ransom" from a direct-to-DVD release starring Steven Seagal is the acting (Mel Gibson, Rene Russo, Gary Sinise) and the budget. The rest is crap, not to mention it runs on for far too long.

The story is a straightforward kidnapping tale and I'm sure the rest of the reviews here at IMDb have covered the basics. I'll cover the hallucinatory parts that Ron Howard thinks are real:

1) Gibson plays the owner of the fourth largest airline in the US. Yet, he takes Sunday off with his wife and son to hang out at the NY City Kids Science Fair, without security or an entourage. The idea that a guy who is busy running an airline he built himself would take an entire day off to waltz around a science fair with only his wife and kid is idiotic enough, but to do so without security and assistants, etc... takes this into the realm of fantasy.

2) Gibson and his family went through an excruciating three month FBI investigation where Gibson's character was investigated for bribing a union official. Gibson confesses to the lead FBI agent covering the kidnapping that he is, in fact, guilty of the bribe and that he lied to cover it up. At the end of movie Gibson should be in jail, but the career FBI officer doesn't do anything with the information except tell Gibson's wife.

3) Gibson's character ignores his kid at the science fair, which enables the kidnappers to grab the kid. Gibson lied to his wife about paying the bribe and put the entire family through a hellish FBI investigation. Now, Gibson refuses to pay the ransom, and seemingly places his kid in danger when everyone else is telling him to pay it. In the real world, this would cause a lot of marital problems, and might in fact lead to a divorce since Gibson has lied to wife about some serious issues and placed their child in extreme danger. Of course, its a happy family at the end.

3) Gibson's wife only has $500,000 to her name despite being married to a billionaire for 20 years.

4) Gibson goes on TV and offers a two million dollar bounty on the kidnappers which he later raises to four million. Now in the real world, this reason this doesn't happen is because its against the law to offer money for someone's death. Again, the moment after he made those threats, Gibson should be in jail. In Ron Howard land, nothing happens.

5) The kidnapper, who is smart enough to plan and pull off the kidnapping, is stupid enough at the end of the movie to walk into Gibson's home to collect the reward, despite knowing that Gibson's kid would recognize him since the kid has heard his voice. 'Nuff said, this movie was garbage.
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Short on Action-Big on performance.
cobdj29 December 2003
Ransom would make my top 10 movie list purely on emotional impact alone. Superb acting is the centerpiece to a strong storyline. It has just enough action and suspense to be entertaining, without taking away from the story.

Overview: Tom Mullen, is a Selfmade Millionaire and Familyman, who has everything. But his son is taken from him, so Tom, contacts the FBI. Sent to assist him is the same agent(Delroy Lindo) who investigated Gibson on a prior Bribery accusation, involving his company. The Kidnappers demand Ransom, but the drop is botched when the FBI intervenes. Now Gibson is forced to face the hard fact that he may never get his son back, and decides to take an unthinkable gamble!

TO THOSE WHO HAVE SEEN THE MOVIE: The most emotional scene I have ever scene, is just after Shaker fires the Gun at Tom's son. The Gibson and Russo interaction on the Balcony was amazing. I was also very pleased with the Depth Lindo and the Screenplay gave his character. You see his willingness to Manipulate Tom and his wife, to save their son. But his straight forward comment to Tom, about possibly using his comments against him, during Tom's Bribery's confession, shows his Character's character. The movie often forced me to Empathize with these people and their plight, shoving me face first into each moment. Even the crew of kidnappers felt real. Although they were the bad guys they weren't made out to be the embodiment of evil, they were human, corrupted regular people. Howard as director did exactly as he should have, he made you forget you were watching a movie! No matter how many times I watch this, it always entertains and impresses me.
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neo31131130 August 2002
i'm terrible at writing summaries and such, i'm especially bad at using big words such as the ones i've read on here. but one word i know describes this movie - terrific. the acting is superb, the story is fascinating, and the directing is even better. i think that is all you really need to hear. see it, but it didn't get rated R for nothing so if you don't like f-words and everything else, don't watch it.
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Everything was great. Can't say anything bad about it
InterlinkKnight13 March 2014
Great story and well executed. Acting was all I could expect. Action was great too.

I read someone didn't like the happy ending. At least me, I do like happy endings, or at least feel that everything make sense, or have a reason to tell the story. Was satisfactory ending. All I can ask for.

I try to be very strict on movies. Want realism, action with meaning, interesting stories with good execution, good editing, good effects, good acting, etc. On this case I just can't say anything bad about this movie. Maybe a little sad, but you can expect that from a ransom.

If you want drama and action, you should like it. Maybe not the best movie, but very satisfactory to watch. I watch it 3 times, and still plan watch it again in the future.
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What a great film!
SouthNorfolkKid10 May 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I loved this movie. Mel Gibson is just totally great in this film, like most others. But really, the fact that he didn't get Best Actor for this was a shame!

Warning Possible Spoilers. This is my first review so I'm not quite sure how much I should say.

So anyways, I'll assume you've already seen this but if you haven't, well would you be surprised to know that this is about a kidnapping! As an airline exec. Mel has made some enemies' and one day his son is taken by Gary Sinise & Co. Well, at first Mel cooperates but he soon thinks that he'll never see his son again, alive anyways, if he pays. What follows is a spectacular scene in which Mel dedicates his life to finding and terribly murdering those responsible. Thing is Gary is a cop and is that a great cover or what!

Even if you don't like Mel still rent this one. You'll love it!
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Great psychological gamesmanship
mjoar20 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is my favorite film of all time, I've probably seen it 50 times. Gibson plays the part of a self made airline owner whose son is kidnapped by NYPD detective gone bad Gary Sinise. After a bungled ransom drop Gibson realizes if he pays the ransom demanded his son will be killed. He attempts to the turn the table on Sinise by offering the ransom amount as a bounty on Sinise's head, which Gibson will withdraw if Sinise releases his son. I love the psychological battle between Gibson and Sinise as each battles to establish dominance over each other and of the situation. In what I would call the climactic scene of the movie, the direction and writing are about the best I've ever seen on celluoid. Gibson has a final 90 second phone call with Sinise. Sinise offers proof of life by allowing the kidnapped son to say Daddy into the phone. He then offers one last chance for Gibson to withdraw the bounty and pay the ransom. Gibson refuses and the camera pans back to Sinise who points his gun in the direction of Gibson's son and fires. The next 60 seconds consists of jumping to reaction shots of all the main players - the audience is not sure if the son is alive or not. The drama in this scene is overwhelming.

After this climactic scene - the movie winds up about a half hour later with an action packed ending.
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A thriller for the whole family
GoD-s-LoNeLy-MaN13 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
"Ransom" is about a rich man with a slightly shady past (Mel Gibson) whose child is kidnapped. Instead of paying the 2 million dollar ransom (which he first intends), Mel Gibson's character decides to put a 2 million dollar (later raises that to 4 million) bounty reward on the kidnappers' heads.

"Ransom" is an average movie, some suspenseful scenes but overall too predictable. Giving away that this movie will have a happy ending is not even a spoiler. One knows from the start. Not for a second can this movie make you believe that the boy will die.

But for a second I thought (hoped) that the corrupt cop who kidnapped the boy but then decided to collect the bounty reward by killing his accomplices and "freeing" the boy would get away with the money. I would like this ending way better: Mel Gibson's character gives the corrupt cop the reward. The FBI finds out that the cop was involved in the kidnapping but since he left the country he gets away with the 4 million dollars.

This movie is also not very realistic as some actions are not credible: The FBI shooting one of the kidnappers in the ransom pickup is unrealistic in that situation and would be a huge threat to the life of the boy as is Mel Gibson's refuse to pay the two million, not to mention the threat the bounty reward poses to his son.

Mel Gibson's character's wife thinks that the actions of his husband are wrong and there is tension between them as she tries to somehow get 2 million (she does not) and pay the ransom without telling her husband. A second sub-plot deals with Mel Gibson's illegal business stuff about which the FBI knows. Both sub-plot are fine but not done as good as they could have been.

In the ending scene, Ron Howard uses slow-motion in an "action" sequence. It looks really ridiculous. I hate this ending. Gibson could have at least shot the villain but no. As the cops want to arrest Gibson because he carries a gun that he pointed at the villain (whom the police shoots as he reaches for a gun), one of the FBI agents jumps in between and saves him from being arrested. It made me laugh...don't think that was intended. At the end the family is united and wife and husband seem to have forgiven one another after the kidnapping had almost tore apart their relationship.

The directing is rather poor and the script is bad because the basic story line could have worked (with a different ending). Mel Gibson's performance was weak. He fails to make his character and thus the whole movie believable.

I cannot recommend this movie. It has a some good parts but, overall, it is predictable and unbelievable. Plus it has a stupid ending (think I already mentioned that)

** 5.0/10 **
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Rough Movie That Gets Your Attention
ccthemovieman-113 February 2006
If your ears can withstand a ton of profanity and usages of the Lord's name in vain, then this movie offers good entertainment. Otherwise, obtain one of those profanity filters or skip this film because there is a ton of swearing.

There also is a ton of suspense as the police race to save a young boy from a vicious kidnapper. Not exactly something new, story-wise, but it keeps your attention for the full two hours. Mel Gibson, Rene Russo, Deroy Lindro, Gary Sinise, Lily Taylor, Liev Schreiber and Donnie Wahlberg make for a deep and talented cast.

The action wasn't overdone and the story was a very involving one. I only had one criticism of it but if I mention it, I ruin the ending. Suffice to say this was an intense, interesting movie marred only by overdone verbal blasphemy, most of it by Gibson (in his pre-"Passion" days, obviously.)
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