"GIMME BACK MY SON!"Ransom
— Tom Mullen
was a 1996 thriller film, directed by Ron Howard
. It was intended as a loose remake of "Ransom!"
(1956), but ended up barely resembling its predecessor.
Our story features a wealthy couple, Tom Mullen
and his wife Kate
. Tom is the proud owner of an airline company and his fortune includes several millions. Shortly after their introduction to the audience, former employee Maris Conner
kidnaps their son Sean
. The film proceeds to introduce her accomplices, siblings and small-time crooks Clark
Barnes, high-tech criminal Miles Roberts
and mastermind Jimmy Shaker
, a corrupt NYPD detective.
Then their demand for ransom is raised, two million dollars. Some character conflict is introduced among the kidnappers. The more ruthless ones want to kill the kid anyway to avoid identification; the others want to release the boy, even risking identification. They agree to disagree until their ransom demands are met.
The story proceeds in the familiar pattern of the original film for a while. Tom gathers the money, but not as ransom. He offers it as bounty for whoever arrests the kidnappers. Not long after, proceeding to double the price. In the original film, the bounty on their heads scared the gang enough to immediately returned the kid. Not here. Instead, the 1990s gang turn on each other. The quiet contemplative mood of the original is replaced here by a bloodbath.
The film was both a commercial and critical hit, gathering several awards. It earned $309,492,681 in the worldwide market. With $136,492,681 in the United States market alone, it was the 5th most successful film of its year.
This movie contains examples of:
- Actor Allusion: When Sean asks his father why he can't participate in the science contest, Tom explains that there would be a conflict of interest since his own mother is the judge. Sean asks if he can enter under a fake name, and Tom suggests "John Smith". Mel Gibson provided the voice of John Smith in the previous year's Pocahontas.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Maris, the female kidnapper, is the girlfriend of crooked cop Shaker, the mastermind behind the kidnapping.
- Batman Gambit: Shaker COULD have just shot the kid and run for it.
- Big Applesauce
- Bound and Gagged
- Blood from the Mouth
- Bring My Brown Pants: Sean, when freed, recognizes the voice of his kidnapper and wets himself in fear. Mullen sees the puddle he's making and gets clued in, then makes a valiant try at bluffing his way through his interaction with Shaker — of course, bluff checks are notoriously spotty when it comes to scenes like these.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mullen fears that his shady past has led to this.
- Deadpan Snarker / The Alcoholic: The kidnapper played by Evan Handler. "You know, you're not going to get to go to your brother's funeral, either."
- Destination Defenestration
- Dies Wide Open
- Dirty Cop: Jimmy Shaker.
- Do Wrong, Right
- Every Helicopter Is A Huey: The cops arrive in one, prompting a quadbike chase.
- Fake Kill Scare
- Heel Face Door Slam: Poor Cubby
- I Have Your Wife
- Lima Syndrome: One kidnapper, Cubby (Donnie Wahlberg), seems to want to be friends with the boy. As he's the Anti-Villain, he gets a Heel Face Door Slam.
- New York City Cops
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: A naturally rather livid Mullen gives Shaker a rather nasty pummeling during the chase when the police arrive. Shaker tries to drive him off by kicking him into a running car and shoving him through a glass window, but he still keeps coming after him.
- Papa Wolf
- Shocking Voice Identity Reveal: Sean wets himself when he hears Shaker's voice in his home. This leads to Mullen realizing that he was behind it all.
- Except that is a bit of a plot hole - the kid could have identified him before, when the cops came into the room where Shaker "rescued" him and Shaker identified himself to the rest of the policemen.
- Not quite: Sean was pretty well out of it when he was rescued, and Shaker seemed to be talking in a slightly different voice at the time (likely due to everything that had just happened leaving him short of breath). In such moments, the poor kid likely just didn't catch such a detail.
- Soft Glass: Very much averted. Mullen looks cut up from going through the glass and Shaker, who went through first, appears mortally wounded.
- Trailers Always Spoil: What Tom turns the ransom into is intended as a shock and surprise move to everyone, but since the gambit was featured heavily in the trailer, the audience knows that we get to this point an hour in.
- What the Hell, Hero?: The reaction by Kate, the FBI, and most everybody else when Mullen pulls his gambit.