Billionaire Ransom

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Billionaire Ransom Movie Poster Image
Drunk driving, violence in teen-survival action movie.
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 98 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No positive messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models. 

Violence

Characters killed with assault rifles (from a distance and at point-blank range), bows and arrows, rocks to the skull, impaled with wooden spears. Bloody injuries. Lead character drives drunk from a party and flips his car, and the girl in the passenger seat is left for dead. Deer killed during a hunt; lead character slits its throat in what's presented as a rite of passage. Fighting with punches and kicks. 

Sex

Two lead characters meet at a party while drunk, start making out, teen girl leaves with teen boy. 

Language

Frequent profanity. "F--k" used a lot. "Bulls--t," "s--t," "ass," "p---y," "pr--k." Masturbation hand gesture. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking at a party. Lead character drives drunk, flips his car, leaves the girl he had just met at the party for dead; he gets out of jail early through his wealthy father's connections. Cigarette smoking. Marijuana smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Billionaire Ransom (aka Take Down) is a 2016 action movie in which the spoiled teens of wealthy parents are sent to a survivalist camp and get more than they bargained for. The three terrorists who invade the island where the teens are living shoot the camp counselors and guards at point-blank range with assault rifles. Characters are killed by sniper fire, machine guns, throat slitting, rocks to the head, and bow and arrow. The lead character leaves a party extremely drunk; he drives with a girl he has just met in the passenger seat and then flips the car and flees the scene, leaving the girl for dead, unconscious, with her body sticking through the shattered passenger side window. She lives, and he does some jail time, but he's let out early thanks to his wealthy father's connections. The movie has frequent profanity, including "f--k" used numerous times, plus "s--t," "ass," "p---y," and "pr--k." Cigarette smoking and marijuana smoking are seen. 

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What's the story?

In BILLIONAIRE RANSOM, Kyle (Jeremy Sumpter) is the spoiled and entitled son of a wealthy father. He attends a party and meets Amy (Phoebe Tonkin), and they immediately hit it off. They leave the party together, and Kyle, still drunk, wrecks his car by losing control and flipping it over; he flees the scene and leaves Amy for dead. While his father does use his connections to get Kyle out of jail, he decides that the only way Kyle can learn responsibility is by being sent to a tough-love camp on a remote island in the UK for rich kids who messed up one too many times. Kyle is resistant at first, and is horrified to discover that Amy is also there; quite naturally, she despises him. But just when Kyle is starting to warm up to his new life, and has patched things up with Amy, three mercenaries invade the camp, kill the counselors and security guards, and take the wealthy teens hostage. They demand one billion dollars from their parents, but Kyle manages to escape. He frees the other teens from being tied up, and they take to the woods. Now, Kyle and his new friends must try to use the survival skills they have learned to fight back against the mercenaries and to also prove that they're no longer the spoiled brats they once were. 

Is it any good?

This movie comes off as a combination of various survival-themed action movies paired with stories of wealthy teens. Is it Less Than Zero meets Red Dawn? Deliverance 90210? Something like that, but the premise and its execution are ultimately too preposterous to even come close to any of those movies or TV shows. The spoiled teens of wealthy parents are sent to a tough-love survivalist camp on a remote island in the UK, but then must fend for themselves and fight back when mercenaries try to take them hostage. But not even rain nor mud nor bloody injuries can mess up their supermodel hair and their nice clothing. Characters who are drenched from rain and bodies of water are miraculously dry in the subsequent scene. 

On the whole, Billionaire Ransom is mindless entertainment, watching the one percent get in touch with their animal natures. But it's hard to root for or identify with any of the characters. The mercenaries seem to have some deeper reason for taking billionaire children hostage besides simple greed, but these Marxist tendencies are merely hinted at. The lead female antagonist comes off more like a '90s goth in a Marilyn Manson video instead of a highly trained killer. The rich teens, even as they learn to take care of themselves through a mixture of killing deer and not eating the poison foliage that grows in the woods, are never really likable. Billionaire Ransom never truly takes on a life of its own, and instead feels like an awkward mishmash of its influences. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about action movies in which the characters find themselves in life-or-death situations. What do you think is the appeal? 

  • How was teen drinking conveyed in Billionaire Ransom? Was it glamorized, or was it shown to have possible negative consequences? 

  • How was violence shown? Was it necessary to the story? 

Movie details

For kids who love thrills

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