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Ransom (1996)



Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 8

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 119,090

My Rating

Movie Info

Ron Howard directed this thriller which stars Mel Gibson as Tom Mullen, a former fighter pilot who built a ramshackle one-plane airline into a major multinational service fleet. Mullen has a multi-million dollar fortune, a beautiful wife, Kate (Rene Russo) and a nine-year-old son, Sean (Brawley Nolte) that he dotes on. However, Mullen's life comes crashing down around him when Sean is kidnapped. The FBI are called in, but Mullen is wary -- he was the recent target of an FBI investigation in

Jan 15, 2002

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All Critics (69) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (52) | Rotten (17) | DVD (22)

The special nature of this story is its many climaxes that border on false endings and also how Gibson's character responds to the ransom demand of $2 million.... it is Gibson who sells us on it and sells it well.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are more climaxes in here than in a Swedish blue movie. This is not to say you won't be thrilled, charged up and put through the ringer at times, but your intelligence will need to be shoved under your seat like warm, flat soda.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

That's interesting stuff, but it doesn't play out with a lot of smarts. And the opportunity to end Ransom on a creepy note of unpredictability is forsaken for the usual glass-shattering, bullets-flying finale.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With a mechanical movie like this, filmmakers -- male or female -- can't take chances. Howard and company are hostages to their own conception.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mel Gibson and Rene Russo put an edgy 1990s spin on the roles originally played by Glenn Ford and Donna Reed.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

By the time Tom Mullen has turned into an action superhero in a clumsy climax, Ransom has run out of ideas, and we've lost track of what we felt about a father's frantic efforts to save his son.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Howard directs for speed and force. The movie moves so quickly it yanks you by too many niggling doubts and the action scenes are so good that you wonder why Opie hasn't shown this much vicious pizazz before.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

Ron Howard has directed the action smoothly and efficiently, but be warned that there's a great deal of hard-hitting violence.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

A slick, slam-bang thriller about a business tycoon's frenzied efforts to get back his kidnapped son, Ransom is meant to divert and entertain. It does.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

As is often the case, the scumbags are far more interesting than the good guys.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Ransom benefits handsomely from a story that remains compellingly believable, even as the plot twists become more baroque. Be warned, though, that Ransom is a violent film, with bloody shootouts that will not be easy to watch.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Ransom is more cleverly conceived than most run-of-the-mill Hollywood exploitation thrillers, and for a while appears headed to a memorable, richly ironic conclusion.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

Ron Howard leads the film dispassionately and unimaginatively, with too much faith in the merits of the talky script, although Ransom almost has a subject for a moment, flashing a little class conflict just like actresses used to flash a little stocking.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: MetroActive

Considering Howard made his directorial name with such light-weight, sentimental fare as Splash and Cocoon, this is a remarkably mature film.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Film4

Ransom won't be lighting the world's blue touchpaper, but it's a good, solid movie -- in other words, just what we've come to expect of the erstwhile Richie Cunningham.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Lower your expectations and this overplayed urban combat drama will reward with a few tense moments.

January 22, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Audience Reviews for Ransom

Ransom is an underrated thriller that has a great deal of top notch stars attached to it. Ron Howard is a good director and even though this isn't even close to his best movie, it is a good movie. I like all the major actors in this movie especially Gary Sinise. Mel Gibson and Rene Russo are good as the devastated parents to an abducted child. This delivers exactly what I wanted from it. It never grew boring or tiresome as some movies in this genre can. It was able to move smoothly through it's story with no lag that sometimes is accompanied by abduction films. Not one of the best movies out there, but definitely an entertaining one.
June 2, 2011
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Fun action thriller. Nothing more.
October 13, 2010
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer

Solid thriller. Flirts with greatness, especially with its dynamite, bloody, awesome conclusion. Gibson vs. Sinise is pretty riveting stuff, Mel gives a routine powerful performance. It loses a little of it's momentum after the main plot is concluded, but Ron Howard still knows how to keep things interesting after that.
May 14, 2010
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

    1. Tom Mullen: Give me back my son!
    – Submitted by Alex A (24 months ago)
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