15 Botched Movie Kidnaps
44 Inch Chest (2010)
The Kidnappers: Middle-aged, impotent-rage-filled, cuckold East Ender Colin Diamond (Ray Winstone) and his attendent flock of equally unsavoury Sarf Lahndan chum(p)s, played by a handful of brilliant brits including John Hurt, Ian McShane and Tom Wilkinson. We think Gary Oldman was busy.
The Kidnappee: The ill-advised Gallic 'Loverboy' (Melvil Poupaud) being quite thoroughly enjoyed by Diamond's wife Liz (Joanne Whalley).
Does It End Well? We're not going to ruin this one as it's out on Friday, but there are going to be spoilers from here on in. Funny spoilers, but spoilers all the same. Consider yourself warned...
Raising Arizona (1987)
The Kidnappers: Career petty criminal Hi McDunnough (Nicholas Cage) and his misguided policewoman wife Ed (Holly Hunter).
The Kidnappee: Local silver-spoon-sucking quintuplet Nathan Arizona Jr (TJ Kuhn).
Does It End Well? Yes, given that the swiped infant is targeted by a bevvy of bumbling ne'er-do-wells (not least a grenade-toting bounty hunter with an eye on the black market).
Nathan Jr ends up back in his own nursery rather than on eBay, so Hi and Ed dodge the presumably-quite-deep shitpuddle they should've landed in. Yee-haw!
101 Dalmatians (1996)
The Kidnappers: Cruella de Vil (Glenn Close) and her ham-fisted henchmen (Hugh Lawrie and Mark Williams).
The Kidnappee: 15 innocent little dalmatian puppies. Oh, the humanity etc.
Does It End Well? Dude, it's a Disney film - they were never really going to end up as Cruella's poncho. So yes, of course.
Well, assuming neither of the Dearlys (Jeff Daniels and Joely Richardson), whose already alarming number of pets has by now increased six-fold, are allergic to dog hair, have day jobs, or ever want to go on holiday ever again...
Man On Fire (2004)
The Kidnappers: A badass Mexican gang of pro abductors, led by a shady enigma initially known only as 'The Voice' (Roberto Sosa, rather than Whitney Houston).
The Kidnappee: Minted daddy's girl Lupita Ramos (Dakota Fanning).
Does It End Well? Sure, for Lupita and folks; less so for plucky victim-chaser John Creasy (Denzel Washington).
Leaking shot-up organs like a human colander, he shuffles off this mortal coil in a kidnapper's car after trading himself for the kid.
Which is kind of ripping the bad guys off, really, but they probably didn't get a warranty.
The Kidnappers: Work experience mobster Larry Gigli (Ben Affleck) and his highly plausible lesbian supervisor Ricki (Jennifer Lopez).
The Kidnappee: Brian (Justin Bartha), a mentally challenged but clearly perfectly well-adjusted Baywatch addict. (Who wasn't?)
Does It End Well? It certainly does for Brian, notwithstanding the fact that he had to spend altogether too long in the company of Bennifer - he ends up being dumped on the set of his aforementioned favourite show, which just happens to be filming nearby.
As for Larry and Ricki, they...uh...pfft, who cares?
The Kidnappers: The Parisian wing of the Albanian mafia, who are apparently doing a roaring trade in sex slaves. Nice guys, then.
The Kidnappees: Teenagers Kim (Maggie Grace) and Amanda (Katie Cassidy), naive U2 fans following the tourbus to Europe. And no, they still didn't deserve it.
Does It End Well? Not for poor drugged-up Amanda, alas, but Kim just so happens to be the daughter of recently retired CIA operative Liam Neeson (note to movie cops: NEVER RETIRE), so obviously she's mostly just twiddling her fingers until he rocks up.
Well, sort of. In an understandably terrified-looking way.
The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Kidnappers: Um...well, nobody, really. German nihilists would have us believe they done it, but they don't half fib.
The Kidnappee: See above, but supposedly Bunny Lebowski (Tara Reid), porn star trophy wife of the titular paraplegic 'millionaire'.
Does It End Well? Hard to say, since none of the hugely messy triple-cross was ever real in the first place.
But, insofar as Bunny ends up safely back home, The Dude ends up at the bowling alley, and we end up with one of the greatest slacker comedies of all time, we kinda have to say yes.
Except for Donny, of course; "goodnight, sweet prince."
The Kidnapper: John Kramer/Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), a deranged moralist with the flimsiest of grasps on irony.
The Kidnappees: Lawrence Gordon (Carey Elwes) and Adam Faulkner (Leigh Wannell), a doctor and a photographer respectively.
Does It End Well? One bloke's skull powdered by the lid of a toilet; one bloke chained up and sealed alive inside a hidden tomb; one bloke sawing through his own leg in a likely doomed effort to crawl to safety; one killer skipping the scene with a wink and a whistle.
Hardly ideal, then...but it didn't quite go entirely to plan for ol' Jiggy, so we're counting it as a botch job anyway.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
The Kidnapper: Nervous types, look away now; it's only the freakin' CHILDCATCHER (Robert Helpmann). Scariest. Character. Ever.
The Kidnappees: Jeremy and Jemima, cherubic lollipop-loving son and daughter of freaky auto-aviator Caractacus Potts (Dick Van Dyke).
Does It End Well? Being a '60s family musical, it would've caused an outcry had the horrifying Childcatcher succeeded in...well, we dread to think.
So yes, it ends well, and a million impressionable young psyches remain just about in tact as a result. Probably a wise script decision in hindsight.
Kiss The Girls (1995)
The Kidnappers: A tag-team - or so it looks - of masochistic lady-collectors, going under the brilliantly dandy pseudonyms 'Casanova' and 'The Gentleman Caller'.
The Kidnappees: Lots of thoroughly underserving womenfolk, most notably kickboxing escapee Kate McTiernan (Ashley Judd).
Does It End Well? If Morgan Freeman's batting for the nice guys, nothing ever ends that badly, as he's made entirely of weapons-grade lovely.
So yeah, the creepy forest torture-warren where Judd's less escapey sisters are being held captive is sprung. In your face, dandy trickster(s).
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Kidnappers: Lock, Shock and Barrel, at the behest of Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon/Danny Elfman).
The Kidnappee: One Mr S. Claus (Ed Ivory).
Does It End Well? Not only is Santa saved from the cloth clutches of resident bogeyman Oogie Boogie, he also gets a night off from his infernal annual chimey-diving rounds, and Jack ends up denouncing Christmas as a flash in the pan compared to (what we all surely agree is) the vastly superior Hallowe'en.
All-round win, say we.
The Kidnapper: Deranged lit-groupie Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates, on truly blood-curdling nutter form).
The Kidnappee: Hit - although we can't help betting probably kinda shit - romance novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan).
Does It End Well? Most people would say yes, given that our hero eventually limps away after stoving Annie's face in on - oh, delicious irony! - a well-placed typewriter.
But given that he's already had both his shinbones bisected with a lump hammer at this point, we're not convinced psychological escape is ever going to be possible.
Imagine that as a supermarket flashback...eesh.
Buffalo '66 (1998)
The Kidnapper: Wretched prison-leaver Billy Brown (Vincent Gallo), in a pitiful attempt to convince his folks that he's a-courting.
The Kidnappee: Bemused, vaguely aroused white trash dance student Layla (Christina Ricci).
Does It End Well? Hell yes. Brown finally realises that it's love, rather than his juvenile quest for revenge, that offers redemption, and abandons his quest to gun down the sportsman whose missed kick effectively landed him in the slammer.
He even gets a heart-shaped cookie out of it - snacks AND sex then, can't really say fairer than that.
The Kidnappers: A gaggle of bent coppers, hoping to win back a videotape of them robbing and killing some dealers.
The Kidnappees: Initially just lustrous school ma'am Jessica Martin (Kim Basinger), but soon they've got her kid and husband as well. Conscientious work indeed.
Does It End Well? Evenutally. The Martins are liberated with only a few knocks and scrapes to show for their ordeal; the bad apples on the force are exposed thanks to the, er, 'miracle' of tape duplication; and the stranger with the cell phone (Chris Evans) gets to make Basinger promise never to call him again.
Which must be a non-Baldwin first for her.
The Kidnappers: Carl Showalter (steve Buscemi) and Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare), on behalf of conniving ransom-thief Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy).
The Kidnappee: Jean Lundegaard (Kristin Rudrüd), Jerry's unsupecting wife.
Does It End Well? Good grief, no. Jean is the one real tragedy in all this, winding up a stiff at the hands of ticking timebomb Grimsrud.
Along the way, Jerry gets his just desserts when police chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) finally pins the hoax on him, and weasly double-crosser Showalter gets shot in the face, then thrown in a woodchipper.