It’s a tense, action-packed, surprise-filled, entertaining movie. There are standard Hollywood cliches to spare, but it’s also the kind of thing you’ll enjoy seeing with an audience that loves their heroes and wants to see bad things happen to despicable villains.

For a film with such a simple, make that simplistic, barebones storyline — although kind of a stretch, think “Taken,” but with Halle Berry in the Liam Neeson part — this has got more than you’d expect going for it. It’s a tense, action-packed, surprise-filled, entertaining movie. There are standard Hollywood cliches to spare, but it’s also the kind of thing you’ll enjoy seeing with an audience that loves their heroes and wants to see bad things happen to despicable villains.

Divorced Karla (Halle Berry) is eking her way by as a hard-working waitress while raising and keeping a close, loving relationship with her happy 6-year-old son Frankie (Sage Correa). But a day together in a crowded New Orleans park goes awry when, distracted by a disturbing phone call about custody of Frankie, Karla takes her eyes off him and next sees him being dragged off and thrown into someone’s car.

She can’t quite see the kidnapper(s), nor can we, but the sequence signals the start of an almost feature film-length chase, starting on foot, shifting into cars, going back on foot, then back in cars, and ending up in one of those isolated locales that so many kidnap films seem to end up in.

But most of this happens on the road, with nervous, but very determined Karla in her red minivan speeding down highways in pursuit of Frankie and his captors (OK, there are two of them, and they’re really nasty trailer trash hillbilly types) in a blue-green hatchback.

The game is on and, even working within this familiar framework, the film keeps a freshness about it, making viewers move in their seats, as cars dodge and swerve, and the editing soon attains the speed of the vehicles. Karla catches up to them, screams at them, loses them, catches up again, and so on, while the soundtrack thunders along with the action. A big difference between this film and others of its ilk is that the cameras often stay in her car, close up on her face, more than on the craziness outside. It’s a nice touch that helps to focus in on her character.

Though this is the first film to give Berry something substantial to work with since her roles in “Cloud Atlas” (she has six of them in that underrated epic), and here she’s quite good at wearing various versions of panic on her face, she isn’t provided with much good dialogue to accompany her on all of that driving. “I will never let you go,” she vows to her son, in that other car, who obviously can’t hear her. Then there’s a lot of talking and yelling to herself, along with some frantic praying that isn’t being answered. Oddly, she also spends a lot of time alone, and not talking at all, just trying to figure out what to do next to get her boy back.

A few moments of calm don’t last very long, nor do they provide much of a reprieve from the tension. And some of those quiet scenes are as nerve-racking as the loud action ones. Of course, the latter is what people will want and are going to get: Plenty of shocks, followed by more shocks. Add to that a shotgun, a large kitchen knife, a barking, snarling German Shepherd, and a nefarious plot twist near the end that you won’t see coming. What you’ve got is a tight, 90-minute B movie. It’s not great, but it’s a near-perfect little summer crowd pleaser.

(Ed Symkus writes about movies for More Content Now. He can be reached at esymkus@rcn.com.)