Abduction (2011)

Nathan Harper (Taylor Lautner) walks down the street like everyone else, but he’s just different. He’s the son of a secret agent, it is revealed during a routine school assignment, and following the bloodless deaths of his surrogate parents, he and summer crush Karen (Lily Collins) are thrown into the sort-of dangerous world of cyber terrorism. Or something. Having attracted the attention of Russian operative Viktor Kozlow (Michael Nyqvist) and CIA agent Frank Burton (Alfred Molina), Nathan and Karen are saved from the local hospital by his ex-psychiatrist, Dr. Geraldine Bennett (Sigourney Weaver). Kozlow desires Nathan to use as a bartering tool, threatening to kill the teenagers Facebook friends if he does not surrender a particular mobile phone. Dropped off in the nearest lake so that they are all nice and wet, the duo are left to fend for themselves so that the audience is spared the sight of wrinkly people and their talent until they are needed to wrap up the whole affair with some semblance of competence.

Do you remember in the first Twilight, when Jacob simply skulked behind his laughable wig and default facial expression, quite happy to pop up here and there for a bit of blunt exposition? Well, then New Moon happened, and the steroids kicked in; and now – flash forward two years – Taylor Lautner thinks he’s some sort of action hero. Truth be told, however, he’s still that same kid with that same cameo-friendly air, and he ultimately fails spectacularly when required to keep his shirt on for whole minutes at a time and feign both fear and confusion, sometimes in the same scene.

Vertigo know this, however, and they have taken steps to minimalise Lautner’s impact on the movie, scaffolding character actors onto the relentlessly wet or shirtless facade in order to distract all but the most hormonal of teenage girls from the giant charisma vacuum at the centre of this movie. I could have quite happily sat through the story of Jason Isaacs and Maria Bello covert custodians, or Sigourney Weaver’s pantomime psychiatrist, but this is Lautner’s movie; so rather than acting we are to be instead subjected to an introduction to his angsty teenager – sitting all petulantly against the wind-shield of a moving vehicle. Perfect.

It is so 12A it hurts, with it’s Power Rangers violence and strictly mild peril at every turn: after being threatened with a cigar cutter for information she is unwilling to divulge, Karen Murphy is left unharmed, tied to a handy chair from which she can easily escape. Even when fisticuffs ensue, the result on the story is practically nonexistant. Having thrown a baddie from a moving train, killing him, Lautner simply returns to his base-line frown, without any hint of guilt, remorse, or psychological complexity. While I accept that for the film’s target audience – uneducated sheep with an eye for a bulging pectoral – this is of little concern, it flags John Singleton’s (2 Fast 2 Furious) film up for what it really is: Bourne for idiots.

In the Bourne-for-idiots genre, however, it at least is not the worst contender. Unlike 2006’s Stormbreaker, Abduction is at least watchable. That said, despite its supporting cast’s best efforts (even stock love interest Lilly Collins makes an impression), the film fails to deliver a engaging piece of action cinema, let alone on its derivative-but-fun promise.

 

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

2 Responses to Abduction (2011)

  1. Pingback: October 2011 – Relax, I interviewed a pilot once! « popcornaddict

  2. Pingback: Fails of the Year – 2011 « popcornaddict

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