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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Billionaire Ransom 2016 * * 1/2 Stars

Billionaire RansomDirector: John Gillespie
Year: 2016
Rated NR
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Jeremy Sumpter, Phoebe Tonkin, Sebastian Koch

Every trouper in Billionaire Ransom (my latest review), is virtually unknown to me. I mean I have never seen any of these people in any other movies. Oh well, at least the producers got some of them to look like actual celebrities. Lead actor Jeremy Sumptor, is pretty much a cross between Hugh Jackman and Ryan Phillippe. Curly locked Phoebe Tonkin, is a dead ringer for Rebecca Gayheart. Lastly, villain Billy Speck (played by Ed Westwick) sure does give off the whole Justin Timberlake vibe.

Anyway, "Billionaire" plays like two separate films altogether. The first hour is all about spoiled, rich kids being taken to a remote, reform school as opposed to going to jail. The last 40-50 minutes are about these same Richie Rich, twentysomethings trying to escape hardened criminals who want to hold them hostage at the same darn school.

Echoing 1993's Cliffhanger, Ransom, and The Maze Runner, Billionaire Ransom is by turns violent, bloody, and unabating. It has moments of suspense and relegated strain. However, this British thriller is only mildly compelling compared to Mel Gibson's 1996 hit and Sly Stallone's backyard brawl of an actioner.

Image result for billionaire ransom movie scenesReleased in August, filmed in Wales which is made to look like Scotland, and originally titled Take Down, "Billionaire" hasn't found much of an audience. Based on its current box office state, it might not find much of one on DVD either. Sadly, the budget constraints, the nameless cast, and the action movie cliches might be to blame (I hate it when law enforcement conveniently arrives after everyone has been shooting at each other and bodies are already lying on the ground).

In regards to "Billionaire's" character development, well the actor/actress portrayals are unlikable, snide, and defensed. We're talking about young protagonists here and their wealthy parents. These are the people you're inclined to root for. The hostage takers don't count. They're supposed to be vexatious for Pete's sake.

As for "Billionaire's" look, undoubtedly it's ultramodern and lush, with the scenery of counterfeit Northern Isles really taking over. The film's musical score by trip hop band Hybrid, makes it feel all Bourne-like as things stir along at a breakneck pace.

All in all, Billionaire Ransom senses to be a bit uneven until the gun-filled, second act takes over. And it has a slight twist at the end that almost feels like filler (a rich kid's brother makes a few secret phone calls to the bad guys, hint hint). Bottom line: Based on everything I have just written, the whiff of a rental is exactly what you'll get with Billionaire Ransom. I give it a two and a half star "payoff". Ha!

Written by Jesse Burleson

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