Never Let Go (2017) Review
Familiar but solid action thriller has a strong lead performance.
Never Let Go is a 2016 (North American DVD release 2017) thriller about a single mother on vacation, who takes the law into her own hands to take back her abducted child.
When you consider that the child abduction sub genre has devolved into a single franchise featuring a man with a particular set of skills, and centers entirely around an increasing number of absurd action set pieces, it’s not surprising that others would try and cash in on the success, and maybe more importantly, try and flip it on its head. So tries Howard J. Ford‘s Never Let Go, a frantic over-the-top thriller that throws itself at the premise with wild abandon.
Single mom Lisa Brennan (Angela Dixon), whose new baby is fathered by a married man of significance, heads to Morocco to gather her wits and try to relax. While she sits on the beach one afternoon, she gets distracted and her baby is abducted by men who stuff the child in a duffle, though Lisa is right on their tail, running barefoot in the streets. After she makes a mistake and accidentally kills a man, the police join the chase as she tracks the real culprits who have jumped into an unmarked panel van, catching up and successfully taking out one of them before losing her chance. Now she has to call on her past to set things right. Thankfully, that past is being a former highly-trained FBI field agent and she’s about to bring some beat down to the baddies.
Comparisons aside, Never Let Go doesn’t stray too far from the expected, with a majority of the film following Lisa as she fights her way through the crowded rooftops and streets of this foreign land. Dixon is a lithe, formative presence who isn’t hard to believe is capable of some decent kick-assery with a bit of vulnerability. That’s important because without this, and Dixon’s ambitious performance, the whole film would fall right apart, the conceit fragile from the start in terms of originality. It’s peppered with a string of worn out tropes we’ve all come to expect from this kind of story, including the foreign setting and a need to work alone. It does have a lot going for it however, with an authentic Moroccan police force constantly on her heels and a subplot involving an American politician.
Never Let Go is filmed on location, which really helps a lot, and fortunately – something seen all too rare in action films like this – the locals are mostly all portrayed as genuinely good and normal people going about their business, some getting a pretty nasty surprise when Lisa bursts into the lives. It’s a bit of a misstep at the start when she kills a man we aren’t sure is really innocent or guilty as everything that follows mostly feels plausible, in an action movie sort of way. Either way, most of Lisa’s path of destruction is swept under the rug once cops take to believing her, something that just has to be swallowed to make the story work.
Ford, who also wrote the story, is clearly trying to create a powerful female character to stand up against the myriad male counterparts, and while some of the fighting is less than convincing – the fast editing not entirely hiding the weak choreography – he handles the rest of the action well, keeping the momentum high and the story compelling. It’s a good looking movie and even though it’s not all that hard to predict, is nonetheless a decent thriller that satisfies.
Never Let Go (2017) Review
Movie description: Never Let Go is a 2016 (North American DVD release 2017) thriller about a single mother on vacation, who takes the law into her own hands to take back her abducted child.
Director(s): Howard J. Ford
Actor(s): Angela Dixon, Nigel Whitmey, Lisa Eichhorn