Review: ABDUCTION (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Review: ABDUCTION (2011)


In the first three installments of THE TWILIGHT SAGA (including this year's upcoming THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN - PART 1), the once-unknown, 19-year-old Taylor Lautner had quickly rose into superstardom, thanks to his good looks and well-toned physique. Ever since then, he became a constant media sensation and also largely considered as the highest-paid teenage actor in Hollywood. After hitting big with THE TWILIGHT SAGA movie series, I'm sure a lot of people are anticipating whether he can carry an entire movie with his first solo outing, ABDUCTION. From the promotional poster, trailer and TV spots, ABDUCTION plays out like a teenage version of THE BOURNE IDENTITY (2002). Such action vehicle suits Taylor Lautner well enough. After all, he's a martial art champion who seems destined to be the next action star to look for. But unfortunately, that's hardly the case. I'm sad to say that ABDUCTION is a hopelessly bland action thriller that you'll also be surprised how come critically-acclaimed director like John Singleton (1991's BOYZ N THE HOOD) would accept this movie at the first place. And what about Lautner? I got two words for him -- wooden and dopey.

Lautner plays 17-year-old teenager named Nathan Harper. He's a typical rebellious bad-boy who likes to get involved in a series of reckless fun (namely: lying on the hood of his friend's speeding truck and gets drunk at a party). He lives in an idyllic Pittsburgh suburb with his strict parents, the aggressive Kevin (Jason Isaacs) who always wants his son to toughen up his self-defense skills and loving Mara (Maria Bello). He's also the top member of his school's wrestler team. Last but not least, he has a secret crush with his childhood friend Karen (Lily Collins) who lives across the street. When he and Karen are unexpectedly assigned to an important school task, he finds a picture of himself on a website of missing children. It doesn't take long before his mom admits that he has a secret past. But before she is able to explain further, two mysterious gun-toting strangers break in and murder the people Nathan thought were his parents all this while. Suddenly Nathan finds himself on the run, bringing Karen along since she becomes the witness of the murder as well.

As he seeks to find out the truth, he realizes that his psychiatrist, Dr. Geraldine Bennett (Sigourney Weaver) is actually a guardian of sorts who happens to know his real father. He is specifically told by Bennett not to trust anyone, particularly the so-called CIA agent Frank Burton (Alfred Molina) who is subsequently involved in the case. Then there's the Russian black op Nikola Kozlow (Michael Nyqvist), who is so hellbent to abduct Nathan at all cost.

From the outline of the story, Shawn Christensen's script sounds like an instant winner. Unfortunately his script is so haphazardly written with lots of inane (and sappy) dialogues and hampered with poor characters. A chase movie like this supposes to be fast-paced, but ABDUCTION suffers miserably from uneven pacing as well. At the same time, everything here feels predictable and disappointingly dull that even the involvement of some of the talented supporting cast of Jason Isaacs, Maria Bello, Alfred Molina and Sigourney Weaver are all terribly wasted. As for Lily Collins, her role as Karen is nothing more than a thankless performance.

John Singleton's direction is simply pedestrian, and all the technical credits are disappointingly cut-rate. Despite Lautner's martial art ability, the filmmakers fail to utilize his skill in a satisfying manner possible especially when all the fight choreography are choppily edited with lots of quick cut. The rest of the action scenes are just as forgettable as it goes you might suspect whether the filmmakers are sleepwalking throughout the production when the movie is made. Rounding up its sheer disappointment, is the terribly lazy ending set at the baseball stadium (you just have to see it for yourself).

ABDUCTION is no doubt one of the most disappointing movies of the year. But of all the glaring problems here, it's a shame that John Singleton's long-awaited comeback since 2005's FOUR BROTHERS is one cinematic embarrassment.


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