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ABS-olutely for fans of Taylor Lautner
5/10 If you are a female fan of the "Twilight" series, there is probably only one thing you need to know about this movie: yes, lead star Taylor Lautner takes off his shirt at the slightest excuse to show off those washboard abs.5 years ago
For those who are not interested in Lautner, I am afraid there's ABSolutely nothing in "Abduction" for you - unless you like half-baked spy thrillers, lame acting and asinine script.
The plot is about high school student Nathan Price (Taylor Lautner) who stumbles upon an image of himself as a little boy on a missing persons website. He realises that his parents (Maria Bello and Jason Isaacs) are not his own and that his life is a lie. As Nathan starts to search for his true identity and his biological parents, he is being targeted by a team of rogue agents, forcing him to flee with his neighbor, Karen (Lily Collins). He begins to realize that his fabricated life is hiding a dangerous truth.
In writing this screenplay, I suspect that writers Shawn Christensen and Jeffrey Nachmanoff must have pieced together ideas from The Bourne Identity and the recent Hanna - and come out with this harebrained plot. But the truth could be that director John Singleton and the film-makers do not really care about the plot: they just want an excuse to show heart-throb Lautner and Collins on the run from some baddies (who included Swedish icon Michael Nyqvist of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo") in order to film some action sequences.
Indeed, many films have gotten away with idiotic plots - provided they have stars that audiences could root for. Alas, Lautner seems incapable of having more than a couple of expressions and he can't act to save his life. Neither can Collins despite the strong support of veterans like Sigourney Weaver (as Nathan's shrink) and Alfred Molina (as a CIA exec). All through the first half, Singleton keeps the audience wondering why Nathan is being chased and in the second half, his aim is probably to keep them from walking out of the cineplex. ABS-olutely for Lautner fans. (limchangmoh.blogspot.com)
OMG! Major disappointment
1/10 PROS - His abs. Really nice body (which I am guessing women over 45 liked it so much)5 years ago
CONS - Everything.
In summary this movie is shocking. It did look promising for the first 5minutes but it went down hill really fast. The acting was so bad and the lines are shocking. Sigourney Weaver does her best with but like us she has trouble relating to anyone in the movie. It gets to the point that where you just wished either the bad guys with the guns or the good guys with the guns (that's the CIA... That's right pure as the driven snow) would catch the kid.
I would say get it out on DVD or download it, but I would strongly recommend saving your money and your bandwidth allocation and your time, and watch something else.... Anything else....
Just refuses to admit it's a B-movie.
3/10 Let me open with what any film review should address: I did not enjoy this movie. But first, a disclaimer: despite my reasons, I want to assure you that none of my negative points will verbally lambast lead actor Taylor Lautner just because 'he's some guy from Twilight.' Nor will I make scalding reference to his gratuitous lack of upper body wear; the kind that one would hope comes off as witty commentary but ends up sounding more like an awkward combination of contempt and jealousy. So, with that out of the way, let's get started.5 years ago
When the shy but short-tempered Nathan (Lautner) is paired up with girl next door Karen (Lily Collins) for a school research assignment, he is shocked to find an image of his younger self on a 'missing persons' website, prompting him to question everything he thought was normal about his life. When the cover is blown, he and Karen find themselves on the run, unable to trust anyone in their search for the truth.
Not only will I not target any more of this review towards Lautner personally, I will even concede that he does his best on what is otherwise a sinking ship from the opening scene. Naturally, his acting skills do need refinement, and I expect we're not looking at the next De Niro here, but his occasionally lackluster delivery is simply a branch of a much bigger problem- the script.
As an unapologetic actioner, it should be expected that Abduction possesses some of the clunky dialogue cliches associated with the genre. These include, but are not limited to 'trust has to be earned', 'I'm not leaving without her' and perennial favourite 'wait how do you know my name?', which is actually used more than once. But among these tired expressions is a handful of headscratchers; lines intended to act as cool quips but possessing an undoubtedly cringe-worthy aftertaste. For example, after Gerry (Sigourney Weaver) helps Nathan escape using balloons to cover security cameras (a la Ocean's Eleven) she releases them with the deadpan, utterly serious line of 'I hate balloons'. So you see my point.
The set pieces are just as ludicrous, asking the viewer to buy into the movie too much when we have not been given any reason to engage with the plot in the first place. In one instance, we bear witness to a CIA agent (operating undercover as a suburban housewife) easily take out two trained assassins. The climax set at a baseball game is a storytelling train wreck, fraught with inconsistencies and overly convenient outcomes. At the very least, I hoped a film set in Pittsburgh would show some love for the mighty Steelers instead of the lowly Pirates, but I digress.
General flaws in logic and realism are other aspects that can be attributed to this type of movie without having them become a major concern. Often, we tend to overlook moments which would result in serious injury for the hero in real life simply because he's just that, a hero. I'm also willing to pass these moments off, but in Abduction they occur so often, and on such a noticeable scale that they severely detract from any engagement with the film that could be developed as it progresses, and therein lies its greatest letdown.
I commend the satisfactory action scenes, which minimised the kind of close-up, rapid camera movement that has drawn the bulk of my ire in recent months. Also, I was pleased to see the film show a bit of gumption by avoiding an entirely happy, alls-well-that-ends-well conclusion, but these upsides are not enough to sweeten what is otherwise an inherently flawed film.
*There's nothing I love more than a bit of feedback, good or bad. So drop me a line on [email protected] and let me know what you thought of my review.*
Lautner Cannot Carry an Action Film
5/10 I was excited when I saw the cast. Listen to the actors involved in this production. There's Sigourney Weaver, Alfred Molina, Jason Isaacs, Michael Nyqvist and Maria Bello. Okay, so there's also Taylor Lautner in the lead role, as well as Lily Collins as his sidekick, but I was hopeful that the supporting cast could allow it to be a worthwhile watch. For a while, I actually believed that "Abduction" could be a good film.5 years ago
Even the first 20 minutes or so weren't that bad. We watched Nathan (Lautner) and his friends go to a party and get drunk. He wakes up the next morning hungover and stripped of his shirt. Those of you who have seen the "Twilight" films are probably used to seeing Lautner without a shirt on, but surprisingly, it stays on his person for the majority of this film. Nathan goes home to find out that his father (Jason Isaacs) wants to have a boxing session, so they fight, and it's enjoyable. It's especially fun because the younger of the two gets beaten up quite a bit. He's also grounded for a week because he didn't call home. How adorable.
We watch the young Nathan go to school and get assigned a project to work on with his neighbor, Karen (Collins). Their project has something to do with missing children, or maybe just people in general, it's not really elaborated on. When looking at one website, they see a child that looks remarkably similar to Nathan. They do a digital reconstruction of what the child might look like now, and it's almost a perfect match. Then they look closer at the younger photo, and they see that the shirt the child is wearing is the same on that Nathan had as a kid. It even has the same stain on the right shoulder. Weird, right?
Well, apparently not. This was a trap, and Nathan fell right into it. Things happen which I won't spoil, a little bit of "Spy Kids" action goes on in regards to Nathan's parents, and eventually Nathan and Lilly end up on the run from not one, but two parties. The first claims to be the CIA, and is led by Alfred Molina, while the second is a bunch of Russian guys led by Michael Nyqvist. Can the pair trust anyone? Will they get out alive? Who knows, but more importantly, does anyone care?
I certainly didn't. Nathan was as bland as you might expect a Taylor Lautner character to be played. He's your typical teenager -- shy around girls, loves playing video games and hanging out with friends -- and yet, he is an amazing athlete and could easily be the most popular person at the school. He also has weird dreams, which he explains to his shrink (Sigourney Weaver), and that's about as deep as his personality gets.
What's strange about director John Singleton's picture is that he seems to think his characters are deep, and that we deserve to spend a lot of time with them when they're not doing anything. The plot doesn't really kick in until maybe the half hour mark, and even after we do start to roll, there are points when characters will stop just to chat and let us get to know them -- all the bland, lifeless them that there is to know.
His "friend", Karen, isn't much better. She basically serves no purpose except to give Nathan someone to talk to throughout, and even when it would be intelligent to leave her so that she can be safe, he doesn't because, well, I'm not really sure. She protests against going home, although she's not the target anyway. He is, because there's a list that his father -- his real father, anyway, as it turns out that Isaacs' character wasn't really his dad -- stole, that everyone else wants. There's more to the list than just that, but it serves as the MacGuffin to drive the plot.
Whether or not Taylor Lautner makes a good action star will depend entirely on how you see him, and whether or not you can believe it. Personally, I didn't think he had it in him, but if you're a big fan, you'll probably overlook any of his flaws anyway. I can say that he desperately struggled with the more dramatic scenes, line delivery, or even acting like a normal human being whenever he wasn't being chased.
What gets to me most is how poorly the established actors were used. Weaver gets three scenes total, I believe, Nyqvist is always just in the background, except for one scene during a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game which comes close to being the sole highlight, while Molina plays basically the same character as Nyqvist, being used in the same way: Poorly. If "Abduction" goes to prove anything, it's that Lautner cannot carry an action film alone.
This would still all be okay if the action was entertaining, but it just isn't. The action scenes follow this sort of pattern: Fist fight, car chase, fist fight, car chase. Rinse and repeat as often as you can in the remaining hour and change after the plot kicks in, and I've basically described the entire movie. Well, there are those scenes when the characters, and the audience get a break, but they end up dragging us down because the actors involved in them don't make us believe in their characters.
"Abduction" is terrible, especially given how talented the supporting cast members are. But Lautner can't carry this film, the secondary actors are all underutilized, while the writing and action scenes were all lackluster. The plot doesn't even make complete sense, with things needing exposition being ignored, and things easily understood given all of the time. Unless you want to watch Taylor Lautner being chased around for 100 minutes, you have no reason to spend your time with "Abduction".
Bland action thriller that tries- but fails- to be the younger Bourne, no thanks to Taylor Lautner's hammy acting
5/10 Five minutes. That was how long it took before Taylor Lautner took his shirt off in his purportedly gritty action thriller 'Abduction'- and depending on how you took to that fact, you may find yourself enjoying every minute of it or cringing in disbelief. Right from the start, this Taylor-made vehicle makes no excuses for being a breakout role for the 'Twilight' star- after all, if Team Edward (or Robert Pattinson) can do it, then there's no reason why Team Jacob can't do likewise.5 years ago
Nonetheless, it seems that Team Jacob should have just stayed in the woods of Forks, Washington, for this insipid Bourne-wannabe does him nor his fans no favours. Rather, (and we may be risking our life and limb by saying this) it only demonstrates his limitations as an actor, especially since he practically recycles the same angsty broody expression throughout the film that he had already put forth umpteen times in the 'Twilight' movies. And no, being a teenager who discovers that the people you call 'mother' and 'father' aren't in fact your real parents isn't much of an excuse too.
That's the predicament Lautner's character Nathan finds himself in one day, after stumbling across a website with photos of missing children and using some software to approximate what one of those kids could look like as a teenager. Though that's the very premise of the movie, the least we expected was for debut feature film screenwriter Shawn Christensen to come up with a better lead in than just some stupid research assignment Nathan and his girl next door Karen (Lily Collins, daughter of singer Phil) was assigned to work together on.
Logic and coherence are however too much evidently to demand, as one would have to suspend both to believe that Nathan is suddenly at the centre of global espionage with both the good guys (led by 'Spiderman 2's' Alfred Molina) and the bad guys (led by Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist from 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo') in pursuit. Apparently, Nathan is the son of a top secret CIA undercover operative whose 'parents' (Jason Isaacs and Maria Bello) are fellow CIA agents sent to protect him while his father is away. As with all chases, the aim is for something that Nathan has in his possession- some encrypted code with the names of dirty CIA agents.
It takes almost half an hour before the action kicks in, the introduction that sets up Nathan's adolescent issues and his secret high-school crush on Karen pure tedium that is definitely not director John Singleton's forte. Thankfully, the pace picks up considerably once Nathan is thrust into that implausible situation, with Singleton clearly at ease setting up the film's various action sequences. One of the first that sees Nathan's 'parents' murdered is shot and edited for maximum thrills, and the climax set in a packed stadium with a live baseball match also packs suspense.
To Lautner's credit, the action also looks good because he performs most, if not all, of the stunts by himself- whether tackling a bigger- sized guy MMA-style or fleeing from the bad guys with parkour. Singleton doesn't go for the shaky-cam technique, allowing his audience to appreciate Lautner's physicality in its full glory. Even so, taking on the lead role requires Lautner to perform some serious acting in order for us to identify with his character's inner distress, but the square- jawed actor with his one-note performance fails to inspire any empathy.
The fault doesn't lie with Lautner entirely- to appeal to the teenage demographic which the producers are relying on to turn up for this movie, they have decided to amp up the obligatory romance between Nathan and Karen, even to the extent of letting the two teenage characters engage in some heavy making-out that stops just before it crosses the PG13 boundary. It is distracting and laughable, although the latter seems to be in line with most of the awful dialogue in the film.
Not even veteran stars like Isaacs, Bello, Molina, Nyqvist and Sigourney Weaver (who plays Nathan's psychologist) can redeem this at-best made- for-TV thriller that tries to be the younger version of the Bourne series. So as much as Team Jacob may wish for Lautner to be their Matt Damon, or even Tom Cruise, it is clear from his debut headlining movie that once the 'Twilight' phenomenon fades, the same can probably be said of Lautner's acting career as well.