New To VOD: Billionaire Ransom (Take Down) (2016) - Reviewed

Now available on VOD is the UK action thriller Billionaire Ransom AKA Take Down. While featuring a somewhat formulaic and reproduced plot, it makes up for it with large-scale production values and realistic Rambo style survivalist action and violence. The plot involves the son of a wealthy New York businessman who is sent to an island in Scotland, a sort of boot camp that is used to reform rebellious rich kids. When a group of criminals take them hostage for a billion dollar ransom, they have to use the skills that they have learned in order to survive.

If this sounds familiar, that’s because it bears resemblance to the 1991 picture Toy Soldiers. Things have been changed up enough, becoming more of a UK product and stepping into nature as opposed to a large boarding school. The grand, scenic locations and set designs used in this more than make up for what many would argue is essentially a remake. These locations include Manhattan and the South Stack Lighthouse located on a small island off of the coast of Wales. This island is where the bulk of the action takes place and makes for a stunning backdrop to the events that unfold.

I have a square jaw line. That's how you know I mean business.

The direction and cinematography are superb and we are given a nice collection of quality shots and angles, that when combined with the editing makes for a finely crafted piece of work. The score composed by the band Hybrid is outstanding, who have become known for combining electronic music with orchestral scores. The cast all do a decent job, even if most of their characters are rather one dimensional. They are provided with just even material in order to paint a portrait of that person. Most of them are recognizable from the various television shows that they have become known for appearing in. Jeremy Sumpter (Friday Night Lights) and Phoebe Tonkin (The Originals) get the most to play with as they are the two main rich kids who have a prior history and develop a romantic relationship. Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl) plays the main baddie and shows once again that he excels in the role of a villain. The other actress that stands out is Julia Ragnarsson as an eccentric and dark female villain, almost coming off as a Harley Quinn type at times.  

Despite the standard narrative, the massive scale and intense action will be more than enough to keep audiences entertained throughout. 

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-Sir Raul Vantassle