Abduction (2011)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller
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John Singleton John Singleton
Alfred Molina Alfred Molina
Maria Bello Maria Bello
Jason Isaacs Jason Isaacs
Denzel Whitaker Denzel Whitaker
Michael Nyqvist Michael Nyqvist

5.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: November 06, 2011
This is how I imagine "Abduction" was pitched to Sigourney Weaver by her agent: "You've got to do it, Ripley. This Taylor Lautner kid's a star. In 25-years no one will even remember "Working Girl" but they'll remember that you did a film with the werewolf kid from the "Twilight" films." I imagine this agent was fired but that every other agent she fired told her the exact same thing. I have to assume Alfred Molina, Maria Bello and Jason Isaacs had the exact same experiences with their agents. Otherwise, how do they get convinced to do "Abduction"?

Let's get this out of the way: I don't think Taylor Lautner is an awful actor. He's not great and he has a lot to learn but he's an attractive kid, he's got tons of energy and he's built like a brick shit-house so he is going to have quite the career in action films and thrillers. Director John Singleton said in an interview that they built this project around Taylor Lautner to showcase that he is so much more than Jacob from "Twilight". I guess they succeeded. This is definitely not Jacob from "Twilight" though he does get shirtless on five separate occasions. Lautner gets to be funny, cry, brood, jump, punch, kick and all sorts of other fun stuff.

The film is basically a "Bourne" film for teenagers. Taylor Lautner stars as Nathan Price who lives a fairly normal life with his 'parents' - Kevin (Jason Isaacs) and Mara (Maria Bello) - though he does confide in his psychiatrist (Sigourney Weaver) that he feels like a stranger inside his own body. How fortuitous. When Nathan's female companion, Karen (Lily Collins), finds Nathan's picture on a missing children website, that's when the plot really does attempt to get started. Turns out Nathan's parents aren't really his parents at all but CIA agents assigned to look out for him by his Black-Ops father, Martin. Even Sigourney is a CIA agent protecting him. Alfred Molina stars as Burton, another CIA agent who might or might not be trying to track down Nathan for noble reasons. The primary villains are - you guessed it - Russians looking to reclaim stolen data that Nathan might have.

This is kind of one of those movies where you really need to suspend disbelief to make it work. It seems like the CIA knows more than the CIA could ever possibly know. Though this film takes place over the span of states, it always seems like the CIA are everywhere and always ready to cause problems. I also think it highly unlikely that the CIA can rig it so they are notified any time a certain word is typed into a computer anywhere in the world. That is a little too far-fetched for me. My favorite scene (and the most ridiculous) is where a bad guy tells Lautner that there is a bomb in the oven. Don't ask me why they put one in there. It makes no sense. And it looks like three sticks of dynamite attached to a clock - have we not evolved past Looney-Tunes explosives in 2011?

No one delivers a stand-out performance in this picture because that is not what this movie is about. No one is going to see "Abduction" for the high caliber of acting, though the film is jam-packed with talented people. Lautner does his best to carry his first lead role and he doesn't fail at it - he needs work, but he does seem to be improving and he has the personality and the likability to keep going. I wish I could say that was because of director John Singleton but I have given up on him. This is the guy who brought us "Boyz N the Hood" and he has been reduced action films that are so beneath his early talent. "Abduction" is a decent enough popcorn flick but has too many surface flaws for me to recommend it to most. 6/10.
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