Abduction Movie Review
Taylor Lautner alert! The perfect six pack is back, now under the tutelage of Oscar-nominated director John Singleton in Abduction, a cheesy action film that pits the lackluster actor against the CIA and other unsavory folk who are trying to kill him. Intended to be a post-Twilight franchise for Lautner and a box office comeback for Singleton, Abduction misses the mark.
The mark in the story is Nathan, a rebellious teen who does things like ride on the hood of a car and gets so wasted he wakes up on people's lawns. Having a seemingly normal life other than nagging memories of a woman he doesn't recognize, Nathan's biggest concern is gathering the strength to talk to beautiful Karen (Lily Collins). But then he learns his parents aren't really his parents and that some really bad guys, led by Kozlow (Michael Nyqvist), want to get their hands on him. Suddenly on the run for reasons he can't understand, Nathan must figure out the truth, his real identity and how to survive the day.
I was willing to give Taylor Lautner the benefit of the doubt. The Twilight movies have the ability to drain its actors of talent - Kristen Stewart, for instance, is quite good in other movies, and even Robert Pattinson has shown he can at least deliver a halfway decent performance when not playing a sparkling vampire - and Lautner's only other acting gig to date has been Valentine's Day, which was painful in its own right. Unfortunately, Abduction suggests that Lautner really is as flat as his prior work has indicated. Abs aside.
Lautner attempts to bring intensity to the role, but completely fails. Nathan is an annoyingly dull protagonist, one whose survival is hardly of interest to those watching from afar. Like a movie audience. The screenplay is partially to blame, however; Lily Collins and more established stars like Maria Bello and Alfred Molina also turn in poor performances. The dialogue is stilted and seemingly written for a pre-teen audience.
The bigger problem is that the plot is pathetically cliché. Interspersed with forgettable action scenes, Abduction is supposed to be a twisty thriller but it lacks twists, turns or any kind of intriguing plot development. Nathan and Karen meander from one situation to the next, never inspiring confidence that they can save themselves other than the inane actions of the people hunting them.
Abduction likely had some potential early in the pre-production phase, before Taylor Lautner was hired and the screenplay dumb-downed to cater to his fans. It's an adult story watered down for a teenage audience, any vestige of originality or suspense lost long before the first roll of film was put to can.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.