Bourne to run – Abduction review

Abduction – Starring Taylor LautnerLily Collins and Alfred Molina. Directed by John Singleton. Rated M. Originally published September 22, 2011. By Simon Miraudo.

Hollywood loves telling us who the big new movie stars are. Sam Worthington and Ryan Reynolds have both recently been given lead roles in tentpole blockbusters, and audiences have responded as enthusiastically as an infant getting their first vaccination. “Who is this stranger, and why is my mother telling me this is for my own good … Ow! That sucked! That really, really sucked.” (Side note: obviously, vaccinations are good for infants. Please do not take this metaphor too literally.) Taylor Lautner, the frequently shirtless breakout star of those Twilight films, is the latest action hero to be forced down our throats. Sure, he has a built-in audience, thanks to the immense success of the Young Adult franchise that shot him into the stratosphere. But is it the right audience for a Bournelite imitator like John Singleton’s AbductionLast I checked, tweenage girls weren’t too keen on this genre, and the boys who normally would be a fan will likely be disappointed by its bloodless, stagnant lameness.

In a bold move, our protagonist Nathan (Lautner) is established early in the film as a jerk; he sits on the bonnet of a car, whooping and hollering as his friends speed down the open roads of Pittsburgh. At a party, he drinks and guffaws obnoxiously, almost starts a fight, and, of course, wakes up shirtless on the front yard the next day. Later, he and the pouty girl next door Karen (Lily Collins) visit a missing children website for a school project, and joke about how ugly the kids are. The missing kids. That’s really unnecessarily mean. Whilst browsing the site, Nathan spots a photo of a three-year-old that resembles himself as a child. Helpfully, it offers a predicted composite of what that kid would look like today and … well, you get where this is going. Before Nathan can discover the truth about his identity, his fake-parents (the wonderful, vibrant Jason Isaacs and Maria Bello) are dispatched by assassins, sending the teenager and his love interest on a hunt for the truth. Also, Sigourney Weaver and Alfred Molina play CIA agents who are either trying to help or hurt them. It’s not important.

Actually, none of this plot is important. Despite the presence of so many talented character actors (including Swede Michael Nyqvist, who, as the main villain, reels off exposition in English as if he’s reading it off a crazy-fast teleprompter), this whole project seems purely a vehicle to showcase Lautner’s skills. “Skills?” You know, like, backflips and stuff. Admittedly, he does get an opportunity to show off some physical prowess in a rather cool final stunt, reminiscent of Jackie Chan’s biggie from Police StoryOtherwise, any awesome moves he may have are hidden beneath Singleton’s cluttered direction, which alternates between frantic to the point of incoherence, and sluggishly lackluster. And frankly, the moves are all Lautner has. Shawn Christensen’s screenplay has some pretty cringe-worthy lines, and it doesn’t help that the star relays them in such a literal, nuance-free manner. He’s not fun, he’s not funny, he’s not charming, and he doesn’t seem all that tortured. He even struggles to convincely play a teenager, and he is one. Also, all those abs and biceps and glutes and what-have-yous make him look a little unnatural; like that Little Hercules kid that used to always be on Ripley’s Believe it or Not. The lesson here: next to Robert Pattinson, anyone can convince you they’re a charismatic and talented actor.


Check out Simon’s other reviews here.

Abduction arrives on DVD and Blu-ray in Australia January 20, 2012.

One Response to “Bourne to run – Abduction review”

  1. Simon I think you’re too harsh on Jacob (oops….Taylor). As the selected stills from the movie show, he shows a huge range of emotions. And he has his shirt on.

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