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Ah, beer. We Kiwis love it almost as much as we love our rugby. It makes up the majority of our overall alcohol sales and every drinker has an epic booze-fueled story to tell, indulging in excess being a habit that has proven hard to break.
You’d therefore think a movie with the name of one of the world’s most popular lagers in it would be a smash hit, a robust and satisfying brew with a malty taste, slightly fruity aroma and dry finish with some gentle bitterness, as the actual beer’s tasting notes describe it. Unfortunately, what you’re really getting is barely-drinkable piss water that somehow smells like compost and that people only drink because the packaging looks pretty fancy.
Kidnapping Mr. Heineken is as bland and tasteless as action movies come, showing a generic bunch of criminals doing generic criminal things to their generic innocent victims. The only thing this film has going for it is its basis on real events. Yes, the head of the Heineken brewery and his driver really were kidnapped. Yes, the guys who did it really did get the biggest ransom ever. No, it does not make for an interesting movie. Not one with Sam Worthington in it anyway.
As I sat in the theatre with a few couples on their only night out, I just kept thinking to myself: I feel like I’ve seen this before. I’ve seen it every time I’ve stayed up way too late on a Saturday night watching TV. It literally has the quality of one of those late night movies TV3 shows after Nightline or Paul Henry; you’ve never heard of it, but you know it’s going to put you to sleep with crass and banal dialogue, a lack of any semblance of character, and an overarching sense that nobody really cared. If I hadn’t been sent to an actual cinema to view Kidnapping Mr. Heineken, it could just as easily be another one of those pieces of crap. Not even Anthony Hopkins could save it. I just thought he was playing a richer and more profane Burt Munro, without the bike of course. Seriously, don’t bother with this one. You may think you’re fancy by going to see a fancy independent movie at a fancy cinema, but it just indicates you have little taste.
Kind of like drinking Heineken.