Combustible Celluloid
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With: Mia Maestro, Jean Paul Leroux, Carlos J. Molina, Pedro Perez, Carlos Madera, Ruben Blades
Written by: Jonathan Jakubowicz
Directed by: Jonathan Jakubowicz
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, drug use, sexuality and language
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Running Time: 86
Date: 08/05/2005

Secuestro Express (2005)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Kidnap Attack

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

For a long time, Secuestro Express plays like one of those films full of jumpy hand-held photography that's supposed to capture the realistic chaos of the world, but only instead calls attention to itself and causes headaches. But as the film's potent story unfolds, filmmaker Jonathan Jakubowicz casually and gradually slows down, like a night of exhausted partying dwindling into a garish morning. Making a statement about Venezuela's rampant kidnapping, the film definitely has a social agenda on its mind, but that doesn't lull Jakubowicz's energy, not for a second. The driving, thumping "Reggaeton" song score helps. Lovely Carla (Mia Maestro, from The Motorcycle Diaries and The Holy Girl) is out partying with her rich boyfriend Martin (Jean Paul Leroux) when a band of kidnappers (Carlos Molina, Pedro Perez and Carlos Madera) scoop them up, hoping for a load of ransom money. Their ordeal keeps getting more and more complicated as the kidnappers make a pit stop for drugs, and as other criminals -- ATM bandits, car thieves -- keep infringing on their territory. Jakubowicz does let Secuestro Express get a little soft at the end, but he earns it. Ruben Blades co-stars as Carla's father.

DVD Details: Miramax's 2005 DVD comes with two audio commentary tracks, one in English and one in Spanish. Other extras include two featurettes, a music video, trailers and deleted scenes.

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