Kidnapping Mr. Heineken (Blu-ray Review)

Kidnapping Mr HeinekenIn 1983, a group of childhood friends pulled off the crime of the century: kidnapping one of the richest men in the world, the heir of the Heineken beer empire (Anthony Hopkins). The shocking capture –by gunpoint in broad daylight on the streets of Amsterdam–resulted in the largest ransom ever paid for a kidnapped individual. It was truly the perfect crime…until they got away with it. Based on a true story 


Kidnapping Mr Heineken


Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is a peculiar film due to the fact that it’s actually a remake that came out a couple of years from the Netherlands that starred Rutger Haur in the lead role of Mr. Heineken. That film was called The Heineken Kidnapping and was directed by Dutch director Maarten Treurniet. Kidnapping Mr. Heineken was directed by Swedish filmmaker Daniel Alfredson who directed the Swedish versions of The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. I don’t really have a reason to preface this review with film trivia but it caught me off guard, because I reviewed the Dutch version a few years ago for another site. I was curious as to what this version with a well-known cast had to offer.

The story is simple enough. A bunch of friends who like to live large and fancy themselves entrepreneurs need lots of cash and day jobs are out of the question. Led by Cor (Jim Sturgess) and Willem (Sam Worthington) the group of boys concoct the grand scheme of kidnapping Mr. Freddy Heineken (Anthony Hopkins), the heir to they Heineken beer empire, from the streets of Amsterdam and hold him for ransom. He’s filthy rich, people will miss him, and his people will pay no matter the cost.

Yes, looking at the film from the outside in, one can see how very simple it all is. It was the early 80’s and people governments did negotiate with criminals and what not. The problem is that the film suffers from its sloppy simplicity. Anthony Hopkins was no doubt paid a lot of money to be in the film and to chew up the scenery every chance he got. He always played the wise over-intellectual person who could riddle his kidnappers with guilt and stay ahead of the game, you know, because he’s Anthony Hopkins. Even one of his bad performances carries gravitas and such.

The rest of the film is so compressed that it plays off as a very generic kidnap-heist film. This sucks, because the real life story of this cash is much more fascinating. They even tell you on the box: “It was the perfect crime until THEY GOT AWAY WITH IT.” The unfortunate part is that you get a very formulaic procedural about Freddy’s ordeal. The Dutch film did a better job in expanding on everyone involved especially Freddy Heineken’s character. In that one Heineken used some of his vast fortune to hunt down the people that kidnapped him. Yeah, it was a whole “the hunted has now become the hunter” but the only thing that messed it up was that film’s running time also cut things short before there was a resolution. This one cuts it even shorter and there is no more explanation as to what happened with Freddy once the caper had ended, with the exception of the text crawl explaining what happened to Cor and Willem’s crew. Let’s just say that 2/3rd’s of the guys who kidnapped Freddy Heineken met with some untimely demises. No, I’m not spoiling the film, because it literally is that cut and dry and the cover art already tell you what happens. I think you can already tell that I am not a fan of the film, so we’ll just leave it at that.


Kidnapping Mr Heineken



Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: Contrast levels are shot to hell but sharpness levels stay consistent.

Depth: The film has a very flat appearance due to whatever happened to the source material between filming and the Blu-ray pressing.

Black Levels: Crush is all over the place. The majority of the picture looked grey.

Color Reproduction: Colors were muted but it’s to be expected since the film takes place in the early 80’s in overcast Holland.

Flesh Tones: Everyone looks fine if a little flush but nothing too distracting. Holding and being held prisoner will wear you out I assume.

Noise/Artifacts: Noise and artifacts were kept to the bare minimum.


Kidnapping Mr Heineken



Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Ma 5.1, English Stereo 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: The video presentation may not have been up to snuff but the audio more than makes up for its shortcomings. Dialogue and action sequences are clearly separated and come through the speakers in a clean and crisp fashion. This is a heist/kidnapping film, so you do get varying degrees of action and situations. The lossless soundtrack does its job in keeping everything nice and consistent.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel kicks in only during scenes of action – there are a few but stays quite during the drama portion of the show.

Surround Sound Presentation: The rear channels handle the ambiance relatively well. Gunfire and shell casings are clearly heard in the rear part of the soundstage and give the film some added depth.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are nice and balanced and outside of a few of those shootouts printed never get drowned out.

Kidnapping Mr Heineken


There are 7 minutes of deleted and extended scenes. Considering the film needed a bit more depth I am puzzled as to why they left these scenes on the cutting room floor.

  • Deleted and Extended Scenes


Kidnapping Mr Heineken


Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is not a good film and it wastes the talent of those involved – behind and in front of the camera. There really needed to be more depth to the project. The Blu-ray fares just a bit better – maybe, in that it has a nice lossless track. It’s too bad about the video and lack of special features, because a bit of elaboration on why this project was created would have helped its case It makes me want to go back and watch the much more superior Rutger Hauer version. Give Kidnapping Mr. Heineken a pass and give The Heineken Kidnapping a go.



 Kidnapping Mr. Heineken 



Kidnapping Mr Heineken


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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