Secuestro Express


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Rating: R

Mía Maestro as Carla
Rubén Blades as Sergio
Carlos Julio Molina as Trece
Pedro Perez as Budu
Carlos Madera as Niga Sibilino
Jean Paul Leroux as Martin
Egr Jose Quijada as Dolor
Andrew Blanco as Juancho
Dalila Colombo
Elba Escobar
Dimas González as Guardia
Miguel Ángel Landa
Balmore Moreno as Oficial Briceno
Ermahn Ospina as Marcelo
Rider as Cangrejo

Special Features:
Commentary by: Writer/director Jonathan Jakubowicz

Commentary by: Director and cast (in Spanish)

Deleted scenes

Secuestro Express: The film and the facts

The making of Secuestro Express

Vagos Y Maleantes Music Video

Theatrical trailers

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Original Spanish Language
English Subtitles
Running Time: 87 Minutes

This film was originally released in 2004. The following text is from the DVD cover:

“From the producer of Sin City and Once Upon a Time in Mexico! Sexy Mía Maestro (TV’s Alias, Frida) stars in this gripping crime thriller where every second is life and death! In Caracas, the most dangerous city on earth, kidnapping is a profitable and thriving business where gangs target upper-class citizens whose families are able to pay ransoms quickly and quietly. But when Carla (Maestro) and her fiancé are snatched by three brutal thugs, nothing goes as planned in a deadly game where the players must make every move as if it’s their last! Acclaimed by critics for its intense action and gritty realism, don’t miss this riveting underworld adventure!”

Secuestro Express is rated R for strong violence, drug use, sexuality, and language.

If you enjoy graphic depictions of kidnapping, rape, murder, and drug use, then Secuestro Express is for you. I don’t care for it so much. The movie spends 90% of its running time showing a young rich couple being brutalized, ransomed, raped, and eventually murdered by three Venezuelan street thugs. Every cop in the film is also shown being corrupt or in on the kidnapping. The remaining 10% of the film is used to try to enlighten us as to why these criminals justify what they do. Unfortunately, their justification doesn’t hold much water. The reason they give is that they kidnap, beat, and rape rich people because they flaunt it while the vast majority of the country is poor. I’m sorry, but just because you don’t have expensive clothes, a fancy car, or any luxuries is hardly a good reason to pull someone off the street, rape them, and kill them. To my frustration, Secuestro Express doesn’t even seem to condemn this behavior. In fact, they try to make one of the three kidnappers seem noble. They even show the victimized woman at the end dressing down and driving a cheaper car as if, in some way, acknowledging that the kidnappers were right. I found the entire thing disgusting and misguided.

The film itself looks like a film school experiment. It is shot with a variety of hand held cameras. The picture zooms and sways around like a music video. At times it looks amateurish, but other times they capture unique imagery. The Venezuelan backdrop for the film also makes a unique and exotic setting.

As for the bonus features, you have your standard commentaries, deleted scenes, and “making of” video. But also included is a short documentary explaining the real world “secuestro express”. It’s the growing practice of kidnapping rich kids and ransoming them for small, easily obtainable amounts of cash.

I would only recommend Secuestro Express to those people who enjoy independent film and foreign cinema. It’s too violent and off the wall for most American mainstream audiences. People that liked Man on Fire might enjoy it, but this film doesn’t have the crackdown and revenge theme that made the Denzel Washington film appealing.

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Weekend: Nov. 15, 2018, Nov. 18, 2018

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