Abduction might be the funniest movie I've seen in a long time, but I'm quite positive that wasn't remotely the intention of anyone involved in creating it. And while some might put all of the blame on easy target Taylor Lautner (who is indeed not ready to anchor an action/drama), it isn't entirely his fault. He's surrounded by capable people with genuine talent (Alfred Molina, Jason Isaacs, Sigourney Weaver, Maria Bello) and a director (John Singleton) who is usually adept at action and violence (see Four Brothers and 2 Fast 2 Furious), all of whom fall down on the job here.
The film's plot contains a kernel of a good idea: A young man discovers that he was abducted as a child and confronts his family only to find out that they are CIA handlers, his real dad is a black ops agent and that he's been kept in protective custody so that bad guys won't use him as a bargaining chip. But the movie starts out as a teenage rom-com, with Nathan (Lautner) mooning over the girl next door (Lily Collins) and getting drunk and passing out without a shirt on the front lawn of a party. Mind you, this is after he rode on the hood of a car but before he told his therapist (Weaver) about his rage issues and terrible nightmares. His "parents" (Bello and Issacs) suitably punish him by grounding him (mom) and beating the crap out of him (dad). Apparently punching each other in the face is how the male dynamic works in this household. (Though this secret "training" helps out via unnecessary voiceovers once the chase really begins.)
While working on a sociology project with Karen (Collins), Lautner stumbles across a website about missing children and finds a kid that, when aged in bad Photoshop, looks remarkably like him. This sends a trigger to some foreign black ops baddies who have been looking for "Nathan" for years, and they come crashing into his house, kill his parents and blow the whole place to hell, forcing Nathan (and eyewitness Karen) to go on the most ridiculous run from criminals that you've ever seen in your life. First, they stop at the ER and call the actual cops and then have a full-on conversation with the CIA (while the voice of Jason Isaacs warns Nathan not to trust anyone), alerting everyone to their location. Then Dr. Bennett, with some balloons, comes and picks up her patient and his girlfriend, dumps them by the side of the river and tells them to run away from Pittsburgh and head to a safe house in Virginia that Nate's dad set up for him. She also tells them to ditch their clothes. So they walk about 30 feet, jump in the river for a second, and then decide to sleep on the bank near a campsite that can't be more than a mile from where the police, CIA and villains are swarming. Real good hiding there, geniuses! They also sleep well past dawn, yet still aren't discovered, and then when they finally get new clothes, they are almost identical to the ones that they were wearing before. And they still magically end up states away without any problem thanks to a very amenable (and not suspicious at all) truck driver. They make obvious mistake after mistake -- driving flashy cars, sitting in front of plate glass windows, calling friends for help, taking public transportation -- but as you'd expect, this doesn't really slow them down.
The film relies a lot on Lautner's ability to deliver in the action scenes, and while he may be able to convincingly roundhouse and Parkour, when he tries to look serious holding a gun, you can't help but giggle a little. And the big bad guy (Michael Nyqvist) is essentially a cartoon character who delivers such "convincing" lines as, "When I'm finished you'll be responsible for the death of every friend you have on Facebook." Way to be threatening.
The hand-to-hand combat is solid, but the larger action scenes are just silly (Karen and Nathan dodging an explosion into a pool is notably terrible), while the love scenes between the two leads are completely unbelievable and not in the least bit sexy. This is possibly because the actors are playing 17-year-olds, but I've seen more convincing making-out action on an ABC Family show. Pair that with some atrocious dialogue and you've got a terrible movie. If that Facebook line wasn't enough to convince you, how about a paid killer telling Nathan that he's going to die because "There's a bomb in the oven"? Or Weaver's therapist, who is supposed to be a high-level CIA agent, uttering the words "Okie dokie" after everyone was nearly killed? It's just ridiculous and laughable... so if you are looking for a chuckle this weekend, and can't hold out for Anna Faris in What's Your Number?, this may be the film for you. Otherwise, there's no real reason to see it unless you're trying to catch up on all potential Razzie nominees before February.
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