FrightFest review – Never Let Go

Never Let GoNever Let Go 


Writer-director Howard J. Ford, of the globe-trotting The Dead films, switches genre for this action movie, which is essentially a distaff Taken with a few ripped-from-the-headlines elements that sit ill with a complicated but transparent conspiracy plot.


It opens in Spain with an a clef version of the Madeleine McCann disappearance, as the young son of some Brits (Samantha Bolter, Michael Xavier) goes missing/is snatched … then hops to Morocco, where new mother Lisa Brennan (Angela Dixon) is on holiday, estranged from her married politico lover Clark Anderson (Nigel Whitmey) and pretty depressed. She’s distracted on the beach by an aggressive jewelry vendor and someone snatches her baby – whereupon she takes off in pursuit, revealing bone-breaking Liam Neeson skills as she batters a decoy who gets fatally run over, then dashes off on the trail.  There’s a mild Bunny Lake is Missing element as we don’t actually get a close look at the baby before it’s taken – raising the possibility that the kid doesn’t exist, which is what the unhelpful local police think (only a female officer is inclined to sympathise).  Lisa runs around the city and then the desert, beating up bad guys and unhelpful officials who want to detain her, intent on not letting the trail go cold and calling in long-range favours from a former colleague (Heather Peace) in some covert agency.  At some point, she intersects with the Brits – who have been lured here and paid a ransom but not got their son back – and sleuths out that the kid-stealing ring, who have a typically impervious-to-pain Eastern European baldie boss (Velibor Topic), are working out of a disused tannery.


There’s a flurry of extraneous plot, with a rather obvious mystery baddie behind the snatch, and the climax piles several emotional reunions on an extended punch-up and a montage of the aftermath of the revelation.  The angular, unpretty Dixon gives a strong performance as the understandably obsessive, ruthless protagonist – but the cutaways to other folks in other parts of the world distract from the ambiguity about whether she’s a dangerous nutter or a desperate Mom.  Lisa Eichhorn, too little seen lately, has a bit role as the heroine’s mother.



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