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—Tom Mullen

Ransom was a 1996 thriller film, intended as a loose remake of "Ransom!" (1956). It ended up barely resembling its predecessor. The new film was directed by Ron Howard.

Our story features a wealthy couple, Tom Mullen (Mel Gibson) and his wife Kate (Rene Russo). Tom is the proud owner of an airline company and his fortune includes several millions. Shortly after their introduction to the audience, former employee Maris Conner (Lili Taylor) kidnaps their son Sean (Brawley Nolte). The film proceeds to introduce her accomplices, siblings and small-time crooks Clark and Cubby Barnes (played respectively by Liev Schreiber and Donnie Wahlberg), high-tech criminal Miles Roberts (Evan Handler) and mastermind Jimmy Shaker (Gary Sinise), a corrupt NYPD detective.

Then their demand for ransom is raised, two million dollars. Some character conflict is introduced among the kidnappers. The more ruthless ones want to kill the kid anyway to avoid identification. The others want to release the boy, even risking identification. They agree to disagree until their ransom demands are met.

The story proceeds in the familiar pattern of the original film for a while. Tom gathers the money, but not as ransom. He offers it as bounty for whoever arrests the kidnappers. Not long after, proceeding to double the price. In the original film, the bounty on their heads scared the gang enough to immediately returned the kid. Not here. Instead, the 1990s gang turn on each other. The quiet contemplative mood of the original is replaced here by a bloodbath.

The film was both a commercial and critical hit, gathering several awards. It earned $309,492,681 in the worldwide market. With $136,492,681 in the United States market alone, it was the 5th most successful film of its year.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Batman Gambit: Shaker COULD have just shot the kid and run for it.
  • Big Applesauce
  • Bound and Gagged
  • Blood From the Mouth
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Mullen's young son, freed, recognizes the voice of his kidnapper. Mullen sees the puddle he's making and gets clued in, then makes a valiant try at bluffing his way through his interaction with Shaker — of course, bluff checks are notoriously spotty when it comes to scenes like these.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mullen fears that his shady past has led to this.
  • Deadpan Snarker / The Alcoholic: The kidnapper played by Evan Handler. "You know, you're not going to get to go to your brother's funeral, either."
  • Destination Defenestration
  • Dies Wide Open
  • Dirty Cop: Jimmy Shaker.
  • Do Wrong Right
  • Every Helicopter Is a Huey: The cops arrive in one, prompting a quadbike chase.
  • Fake Kill Scare
  • I Have Your Wife
  • Lima Syndrome: One kidnapper seems to want to be friends with the boy.
  • New York City Cops
  • Papa Wolf
  • Shocking Voice Identity Reveal: Sean wets himself when he hears Shaker's voice in his home. This leads to Mullen realizing that he was behind it all.
    • Except that is a bit of a plot hole - the kid could have identified him before, when the cops came into the room where Shaker "rescued" him and Shaker identified himself to the rest of the policemen.
      • Not quite: the kid was pretty well out of it when he was rescued, and Shaker seemed to be talking in a slightly different voice at the time (likely due to everything that had just happened leaving him short of breath).
  • Soft Glass: Very much averted. Mullen looks cut up from going through the glass and Shaker, who went through first, appears mortally wounded.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: What Tom turns the ransom into is intended as a shock and surprise move to everyone, but since the gambit was featured heavily in the trailer, the audience knows that we get to this point an hour in.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Reaction by his wife, the FBI, and most everybody else when Mullen pulls his gambit.
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