October 4, 2011

Movie Review: Abduction (2011)

I have to say that I had no real expectations for this movie. Frankly, it looked like a generic action vehicle to test Taylor Lautner's drawing power away from the Twilight franchise. Well, for some reason I found myself sitting in the theater waiting to watch this and wondering how my life has lead me to this moment in time. There is, of course, no answer to that. It is what it is and I like movies, which generally means I will see a lot of them, both good and bad. There are a few lines I won't cross, but not many. In any case, I saw the movie and have lived to tell the tale. Let's get it out of the way right up front, this is not a good movie. It is also not the worst I have seen, it just suffers from poor lead performances and a general lackluster execution.

The story centers on Nathan (Taylor Lautner). A typical teenager who doesn't feel comfortable in his own skin, pines after a pretty cheerleader, and wonders if he will ever fit in with "normal" society. Well, sounds like your generic teenager seeking his place in the world. o aid in his search, he does see a therapist (Sigourney Weaver), and avoids talking to his parents. Needless to say, his life is about to change and we learn that his parents may not be his parents. Thanks to a high school project on studying society Nathan's life and those of all around him is thrown into chaos where the ultimate outcome may be untimely death.

It turns out that the missing person's website they find for their project, and on which they find Nathan's picture, is a trap set up by some really bad guys in the hopes of flushing him out. Why they thought this would work in the first place is a mystery, but thanks to movie magic we have our first hint of movie. The bad guys spring into action and go looking for the boy. At the same time the CIA also leap to action to try and beat the bad guys to Nathan.

A firefight later and Nathan and would be girlfriend, Karen (Lily Collins), are on the run and don't know who to trust. The chase leads to further revelations about Nathan's family, what the bad guys are after, and that the good guys may not be as altruistic as you would think they should be.

Really, there isn't much to the story, nothing that you haven't seen many times before. However, there is something about the way the story is approached that I liked and would like to see explored in a better movie. There are so many action films where we see the good guy's family targeted to get a desired response out of said hero, the hero then turns and says he is going to get said bad guy. In this case we get the perspective of the targeted family member and their reaction. Rather than being a sitting duck, he has the desire and ability to not only defend himself but prove to be a threat to the bad guys.

I just wish the movie gave you a reason to care about it. From the generic direction, to the bored appearance of Alfred Molina as a CIA agent, to the bad lead performance from Lautner, and the fact that nothing of any particular note happens. It is almost a non-entity as once it is over, the details went racing for the exit in advance myself. I was left thinking that the basic idea was good, but not much else.

Lautner looks like he could grow into a decent action lead. He has the martial arts background for the action bits, but he is currently hampered by a distinct lack of acting ability with a monotonous delivery and a singular expression. Perhaps if he disappears for awhile when Twilight is over, works on his acting chops and then stages a big return he could prove to be good down the line.

The acting across the board was mediocre at best. Lily Collins did not seem comfortable and chemistry with Lautner seemed forced. Like I mentioned, Alfred Molina looked like he wanted t be anywhere but there. Sigourney Weaver does not really have much to do. The best supporting role has to be Michael Myqvist as the main bad guy. He has a certain determined menace about him and an easy going charm that could be formidable in a better movie. This is is first Hollywood film after receiving good notice for the Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo films.

John Singleton directed the feature and I have to wonder where this once first rate filmmaker has gone. Between this and 2 Fast 2 Furious I don't know what to think of him anymore. Sure, Four Brothers was good, but he hasn't really made anything near the quality of his early output in some time. His wok here is very paint by numbers, a paycheck job.

Oh yeah, there was also no abduction in this movie that I could find...

Not Recommended.

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