Howard J. Ford’s Never Let Go is a fast-paced action thriller about a mother, who is pushed to the limits to find her kidnapped infant daughter. The film starts by drawing attention to the fact that the first three hours are crucial in solving cases of child abduction. Soon, you realize the movie is not a social commentary on human trafficking but more a kick-ass political thriller.
Never Let Go follows new mother, Lisa, the mistress of U.S. political candidate Clark Anderson (Nigel Whitmey). Frustrated with non-stop campaigning and the possibility the affair might be uncovered during the election; Clark offers to send Lisa anywhere in the world to wind down and be a mother.
“You realize the movie is not a social commentary on human trafficking but more a kick-ass political thriller…”
Lisa chooses to spend time in Morocco by herself and with her infant daughter, Sophia. The moment the plane lands, Lisa (and the audience) has an uneasy feeling about the people and her surroundings. While at the beach, Lisa is briefly distracted by a local trying to sell her a cheap bracelet. Lisa soon turns around and discovers that Sophia has been taken. Lisa turns around to see a group of three men running away carrying a heavy duffel bag.
It is at this exact moment you realize that Never Let Go is the female version of Taken. It appears that Lisa has a “particular set of skills” from her life as a special ops agent. Lisa manages to track down the abductor with the duffel bag, break his arms and throw him under the getaway van. Unfortunately, Sophia was not in the duffel bag, but in a large satchel carried by the other two thugs.
Lisa uses her “skills” track down her daughter’s kidnappers through the Moroccan streets. She can steal cars. Incapacitate a kidnapper or two and escape the authorities, while dodging a bullet or two. Here one is lead to wonder, how a person with these skills can allow themselves to be so easily distracted in the first place.
“Our hero, Lisa, is a cunning killer with maternal instincts…”
At the end of the first act, Lisa is surrounded by the local police, who have questions about the trail of bodies she’s left behind. The authorities are insistent that Lisa goes with them to explain her side of the story and “fill out paperwork.” Yes, that’s actually said by the lead investigator. We soon discover this is more than just a simple kidnapping.
Never Let Go is essentially an action-thriller. Our hero, Lisa, is a cunning killer with maternal instincts. For the most part, the film delivers good story and entertaining action sequences. The film fails in trying to be something bigger–a feminist’s tale. Every single female character does whatever she can to help Lisa get her daughter back, while every male character is a hindrance, whether intentional or not. In today’s PC-culture, I get it, and I don’t necessarily have a problem with it. Women good; Men bad. I just wish it was a little less obvious.
Never Let Go (2017) Written and directed by Howard J. Ford. Starring Angela Dixon, Nigel Whitmey, and Heather Peace.
3 out of 5