Kidnapping Mr. Heineken Blu-ray review

In 1873, Gerard Adriaan Heineken first brewed the namesake beer. In the 1940s, Freddy Heineken joined the company, helping turn it into a billion dollar brand. In 1983, the heir was kidnapped.

Best friends William Holleeder (Sam Worthington, CAKE) and Cor van Hout (Jim Sturgess, who previously sought millions in 21) have had a hard time getting the money they need for the lives they want. They can’t get a loan to start a business and they refuse to get a real job because they know it won’t lead them anywhere. It’s reasoned that crime will be their best bet. After all, if they’re caught, they’ll only lose their liberty, which hasn’t amounted to much anyway.

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

With their friends Jan (Ryan Kwanten, who played Jason Stackhouse on HBO’s TRUE BLOOD), Martin (Thomas Cocquerel, in his debut) and Frans (Mark van Eeuwen, 2013’s FINN), a plan is hatched to kidnap Freddy Heineken (Anthony Hopkins, who recently played Methuselah in Darren Aronofsky’s NOAH). These are the sorts of dopes that think donning a latex Halloween mask will be the key to their getaway.

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

After they fund the kidnapping by robbing a bank (which apparently doesn’t have enough money to split five ways), the gang starts to gather handcuffs and voice changers and begin constructing a soundproof room to hold their captor. Then it’s go time, and before they know it, Freddy Heineken is in their possession with a 35 million Dutch guilders ransom on his head.

KIDNAPPING MR. HEINEKEN (known as KIDNAPPING FREDDY HENEKEN in its mother country) is based on a fascinating true story. It was so compelling to the international movie industry that it had already been made into a motion picture, THE HEINEKEN KIDNAPPING, with Rutger Hauer as Heineken. Considering the story was told just four years ago, was it necessary for another take on the event?

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

Even with the compulsion to greenlight there, there was clearly no desire to expand on the story or the characters. This version, written by Peter R. de Vries (adapting his own book, “The Kidnapping of Freddy Heineken”), offers a very standard approach and one-note characters with no personality. Director Daniel Alfredson (who helmed the second and third installments of the original MILLENNIUM TRILOGY, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST) also brings very little to the material, offering the sort of basic style that the screenplay warrants. When the gang isn’t tending to their captor, scenes are guided by tense moments; but even the major robbery, kidnapping and getaway sequences lack the excitement they should have (is there a better way to slow down a chase scene than with a station wagon?).

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

The name that might attract viewers is Hopkins’. While the actor does get to have some amusing bits, requesting Schubert on the radio to Chinese food on a plate, he’s not given much to do other than sit in a room chained to a wall.

Having been released a mere years before the first version of the story, KIDNAPPING MR. HEINEKEN is a wholly unnecessary effort. Surely it’s time for a biopic on the rise, fall and rise of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: 2.35:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Details are fine while colors lack pop.

Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1; English Stereo 2.0. Subtitles in English and Spanish. Dialogue is clear and the sound effects come through nicely.

Deleted Scenes: There are six here, which can only be viewed separately. They are: “Money Trouble,” “Are You Alright?” “You Guys Need a Break?” “Sleep,” “American Beer” and “Waiting.”

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OVERALL 1.5
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