Director: Peter Liapis

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Captured Real Estate development tycoon Holden Downs (Nick Mancuso) finds his Millenium City project stalled by environmentalists.

If the project does not go forward at once, he'll be bankrupt, & never have a second chance at creating the top-of-the-line complex that has been his dream.

Banks won't bail him out. His business & political connections stop taking his calls. The anger builds & builds with each new frustration.

The final straw in Captured (1998) is Holden's encounter with car thieves. When he happens on the brother-team trying to start his Porsche, he flips out, grabs a tire iron & breaks the arm of Joey (Michael Mahonen).

As Bobby (Andrew Divoff of the ferocious visage) gets his baby brother into the get-away car, he promises to be back, because, "That car is mine!"

While Holden's millionaire life falls apart around him, the only thing he has to cling to is his blind hatred of the car thieves, & his expectation that they will return for his car. He hires his very clever nephew (Seth Peterson) to trick out the car as an inescapable thief-trap.

Holden starts out as a kind of Everyman, & it's hard not to cheer him on when he beats the crap out of two big strong guys who tried to steal from him. That he's on the verge of being an anti-hero, which makes it all the more disturbing to eventually realize this was only his first step down the road of paranoid psychosis. It can take a while but eventually we have to admit there are limits to what is appropriate for someone to do to protect property.

His wife Faye (Linda Hoffman) can't deal with his screaming mania & anger & so goes to stay with her sister for a few days, which permits Holden to focus on his new obsession.

The Breed brothers Joey & Bobby have had to suffer through setting Joey's arm the amateur way, before Bobby sets out for the intended "revenge theft." When Bobby starts to hotwire the vehicle, it immediately locks its doors & windows. Holden steps into the garage with the remote control in his hand.

Now begins the torture, an enraged Holden taking out all the frustrations of his life on one thief. The ongoing tortures range from loud heavy metal blaring from the radio all night long inducing sleep deprivation, to starving & dehydrating the captive, to an extremely gory sequence in which Bobby gets his fingers clipped off with gardening shears.

By the time we're watching Holden cart Bobby's fingers away to the kitchen to whizz them up in the garbage disposal, we're desperately hoping Bobby can escape, cuz Holden is a freaking phookin fruitcake.

When Bobby never makes it home, Joey sets out to find out what happened. He turns out to be less helpful than one might have hoped, the cat & mouse chase through Holden's mansion not turning out well for the already injured younger brother.

Twitchy Holden in crazed discourse with his victim tries to shape what is happening as a sort of class warfare, with good hard-working productive decent citizens like himself rising up against the sorts of worthless scum who believe they have the right to just take what others have earned.

I read a handful of unexpectedly emotional reviews of this film & was surprised to find a couple critics who so identified with Holden that it actually made them angry to see the film turn him into a psycho while thieving Bobby becomes either victim or hero, but certainly not the bad guy Holden believes him to be. I suspect many who've had their best beloved car stolen truly wanted this film to remain their own revenge fantasy. On the other hand, another critic found the film merely sadistic & closed his review with the flat-out assertion that anyone who could like such a movie needed psychiatric help. Well excuuuuse me.

If Holden wasn't obviously a shitfaced crazy pyscho, some of his vigilante philosophy might've made sense. But soon we know, if there is class warfare involved, it's the disenfrenchised vs the devouring rich.

Long before he kills his own nephew Buddy, we know that any justification he may have started with has thoroughly derailed. When Faye comes home earlier than expected, worried about her husband's mental state, she finds & frees Bobby, who takes her captive, forces Holden to get in his own car-trap, & after dressing his bloody wounds, sets out momentarily to get even. But unlike Holden, Bobby's not insane, & so his attempts to even the score turn out to be halfhearted.

Before it's over the decision will be Faye's as to who lives & who dies. The great story-twist is that Holden's legal team has in the meantime successfully reversed his company's fortunes & the Millenium City project can be in full swing within a couple of days!

But by now Holden has flushed his life down the toilet as a fiendish torturer & two-time killer. Only if he can additionally kill Bobby & perhaps even Faye is there any chance of shaping the story of what happened in any manner that will fool the police & get him his life back.

This direct-to-video cheapy is an exploitation film through & through, but the central performances are so good (most especially Andrew Divoff, the original Wishmaster) that it merits every praise. A true winner of brilliant sleaze -- & whether or not this means I need a psychiatrist, I found Captured to be bloody appalling suspense-filled & damned cool.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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