By Doug Brunell | May 5, 2005

When I heard the news that Russell Crowe had been targeted by America’s bogeymen — the Al-Qaida — for a kidnapping, I had to wonder why. I mean, he’s not even American. Do terrorists think he’s so well-loved that his kidnapping will bring us to our knees? Have these guys heard 30 Odd Foot of Grunts? They’d be doing us a favor. While they’re at it, I suggest they grab Sean Penn and Tom Brokaw, too. That’ll learn us.

Obviously, I’m being pretty sarcastic about all this, and I’m sure Crowe was upset over the threat. I would be. I just can’t understand why he was targeted instead of a senator or the governor of California. Maybe the terrorists thought he was really like his character in A Beautiful Mind and would be able to make some funky weapons or something. I don’t know. When it comes to this kidnapping plot, I’m clueless.

I’m not a huge fan of Crowe, though I really enjoyed him in Romper Stomper. I happen to think he’s one of those people who can sling out a few jokes, but can’t handle them coming his way. He takes himself way too seriously … except when he’s drunk … and if anyone criticizes him — look out! I know plenty of people love him, and maybe that’s why Reagan’s former “freedom fighters” picked him out of the Hollywood star-filled line-up. “That Crowe. We get him and American dogs will cry.”

No, we really won’t.

Aussie-types and the three people in New Zealand who like him may go a bit nuts at the idea, but they’ll probably be saying, “At least it wasn’t Mel Gibson.” I must admit, however, that after The Passion of the Christ (now in stunning 3-D), he’d make a far better target. Religious people would go jihad if that were to happen. “They stole the Jesus guy!” But Mel would escape after playing a couple of pranks on them, and then he’d lose an eye and go gray at the temples.

I don’t really want to see Al-Qaida kidnap anyone. I’m not a big fan of kidnapping because it doesn’t leave one with many outs. You can either kill the victim or let him or her go. There really is no other way around it. If they got Crowe, I wouldn’t want to see him executed. He’s not my favorite actor, but let’s be real. He doesn’t deserve to die for Master and Commander. At the same time, I wouldn’t want him set free to make more crappy movies with Ron Howard. If the terrorists wanted to scare me, though, they’d just threaten to set him free. I’d be staying away from all movie theatres for the next ten years. And if he were kidnapped and released, the Oscars would have to do something special for him, too. The whole incident would become this big production nobody really would want to see. Can you imagine him on every morning show talking about his ordeal and then promoting his new movie based on it? “I’m playing myself.”

If Al-Qaida must target a celebrity for a kidnapping, at least go after someone America will actually miss. The point is: If you’re going to take the effort to nab someone in order to scare Americans, you have to know your audience. Crowe’s a write-off. You need to go for the gold. You need someone America can feel sorry for, and that’s not Crowe.

Guys, if you really want to freak out America, grab Will Smith right before the summer blockbuster season starts. That will cause mayhem and panic unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It isn’t summer without Smith, but you’d know that if you stopped watching Crowe’s movies and took in a little I, Robot, wouldn’t you?

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