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Ransom
Category Thriller , Crime/Spy
Year: 1996
Time: 121 minutes
Production: Touchstone Pictures
Director: Ron Howard
Cast:
Mel Gibson, Gary Sinise, Rene Russo, Delroy Lindo, Liev Schreiber, Donnie Wahlberg
MPAA R / UK18
Our Rating 8/10
Watchability 8/10
Tag-line Someone is going to pay.
 
Plot:

Tom Mullen (Mel Gibson) is a successful businessman and owner of his own airline, yet his world is about to fall apart when his only son is kidnapped and held for ransom.  When things start to unravel and he can't see a way to get back his boy safely, Tom starts to turn the tables on the kidnappers by making them the most wanted criminals in America by turning the $2million ransom money into a bounty on their heads - dead or alive.

 
So, how does it end?

Tom takes the FBI's advice and goes to the drop-off with the money. He is taken for a ride by Shaker and made to lose all the wires and bugs on him by diving into a swimming pool and switching money bags, and then forced to drive away and lose his tail in a different car.

At the drop-off, Cubby sticks a gun in his face and demands the money. Tom asks him where Sean is, but Cubby doesn't answer. The Feds show up having somehow found Tom on surveillance, and Cubby is gunned down. His brother watches as he tries to tell Tom where to find Sean but cannot get his words out before he dies.

Tom returns to the Penthouse and goes over the events. He listens to his gut that the kidnappers will never let Sean go. He takes off and organises a press conference - he will deliver an address on line TV. In the studio he lines the $2 million in cash on a table, stares at the camera, and tells the world that the money is a bounty on the heads of the kidnappers. To end it, all they need to do is return his son.

The kidnappers freak out (obviously $2million seems a lot more in 1996 than nowadays), and fight amongst themselves. Kate is inconsolable and thinks Tom has risked the life of their boy. Agent Lonnie Hawkins is certain it is the wrong move and begs Tom to cancel the offer.

Shaker leaves a note for the housekeeper to give to Kate - to meet him in an old, abandoned church. Wearing a mask, he roughs her up, and tells her to make her husband rescind the bounty.

Tom is even more irate when he hears of this -- and doubles the bounty to $4million.

Shaker tries to scare him on the phone by shooting and killing (supposedly) Sean. Tom is beaten and walks out to the balcony, contemplating to jump and fall to his death. He is joined by Kate, and they hold each other for support.


Shaker leaves the hideout to gather his thoughts. The others fall to pieces again and try to murder Sean. Jimmy sees Clark and Miles load their white van, and stumbles on an idea. He calls it in, then exits the launderette and flashes his badge. The kidnappers panic and start the van. Jimmy unleashes rounds into both of them. To cover his tracks he picks up a second weapon, fires a few shots into a wall, and places it into Miles' hand.

Just then he is rocked backwards as he is shot in the shoulder by Maris. Shaker pauses - then shoots her dead.

With sirens wailing he enters the hideout and slumps down into the room next to Sean.

The cops show up but he holds up his badge. Sean doesn't recognise his voice, but the kid's been through some harrowing events so it's understandable. As Shaker is loaded onto an ambulance he is thanked in person by Tom.


Later, the Mullens take Sean out to the park again, and return home to find Shaker who is thinking to skip the country as he can't stand the media attention, and wants his $4million.  In Tom's office they go over a few steps, when, across the hallway, Sean stops in heart-wrenching panic when he hears Shaker's voice. Tom can see this, and pretty soon puts two and two together.

Jimmy takes out a gun and demands an immediate wire transfer. Tom manages to persuade his enemy to join him downtown where they can go to the bank together. On the way though Tom manages to get a message through to Agent Hawkins through the in-car phone.

They meet some cops outside, then inside the bank, after a few photo calls, the transfer is successful. The cops are alerted to bring Shaker in for questionning.  They stop them outside, but Shaker shoots them both dead and makes a run for it. Tom chases after him. After they're both hit by a few cars, Tom throws himself into Shaker, and they both crash through a shop window.

They get to their feet, covered in blood, while the Feds have showed up and cordoned off the area. Tom has Shaker's gun and won't let go. Everyone yells for him to drop it. He begins to put it down as Jimmy takes out a second piece from his ankle and raises his aim -- but Agent Hawkins get in a few shots before Tom can retaliate with a shot of his own. Shaker falls down dead. Hawkins protects Tom from immediate arrest.

The credits begin to roll and the crime scene is slowly cleaned-up and washed down, before the next morning when no one would be able to tell what happened on that street corner the day before.

 
Comments

What's happened to Ron Howard in recent years??

... and surely this is the last movie filmed (except on purpose 1980s style or in a spoof-way) where a modern-era multi-millionaire throws a lavish party in his luxury penthouse suite to showcase his firm's new Advertising campaign ... and then sticks on the VCR!  Didn't they have DVD players in 1996??

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