Director Fernando Di Leo takes a surprising turn for the melodramatic in Kidnap Syndicate without skimping on the action that built his reputation. Luc Merenda plays Colella, a blue-collar widower raising his son Fabrizio on coffee and love. When kidnappers nab Fabrizio’s rich school chum Antonio, he tries to fight them off but gets abducted as well.
Because we don’t get acquainted with the kidnappers until 38 minutes into the film, the emotional crux is how rich dad and poor dad each handles the crisis. Antonio’s mega-developer father, a typecast role for James Mason, clearly relishes the art of the deal in securing the boys’ release. Although interest bogs down during the lengthy haggling over their freedom, we anticipate that Colella—seething at the low value placed on Fabrizio—will spring into action.
Sure enough, when the kidnappers turn up the heat, Colella goes full-on sadistic Billy Jack and all hell breaks loose. Car chases end as smash-up derbies to the funky fluttering of Luis Bacalov’s flute. But with most of the thrills pushed to the third act, action seekers may wonder if it was worth the wait.