20 Oct

Title: Abduction
John Singleton
Writer: Shawn Christensen
Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Jason Isaacs, Maria Bello, Sigourney Weaver, Michael Nyqvist, Dermot Mulroney
MPAA Rating: 
PG-13, sequences of intense violence and action, brief language, some sexual content and teen partying
106 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
Rotten Tomatoes: 


Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner are to Twilight what Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint are to Harry Potter. I mean, obviously a lesser extent because the Potter kids really did grow up in front of the cameras and because they did more films and because their films were much better, but you get the analogy, they are a trio of young actors who have been defined by the roles they have played in extremely popular franchises that now have them being adored by millions of people all over the world. Now obviously that’s a great stepping stone for actors, but the crucial moment comes from what you do afterwards and whether you really do use as something to catapult you to greatness or if it’s something that you won’t be able to outgrow as an actor.

The Harry Potter trio are at that stage right now, with the eighth and last entry of that series (which I gave a perfect A+ to) having come out this July, they’re now prepping up the projects that will hopefully get people to love them as something other than Harry, Ron and Hermione: Mr. Radcliffe has the spooky The Woman in Black coming out in early February, Mr. Grint is apparently staying in the UK with some much smaller productions and waiting for make a foray into Hollywood, and Ms. Watson, who I’m a big fan of, will be seen next month in the potential Oscar-bait that is My Week with Marilyn, alongside Michelle Williams, and next year in the adaptation of one of my favorite books ever, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Now, the Twilight kids still have some time before they’re not associated with vampires and wolves, with the fourth film coming out next month and the final one (they split up the final book into two movies, much like Potter did) coming out late next year, but they have officially wrapped up production so you can look forward to seeing their next career moves. Now, Ms. Stewart and Mr. Pattinson we’ve seen a glimpse of what they’re capable outside of the mega-popular adaptations of the Stephenie Meyer book series. Ms. Stewart’s someone I’m really excited to see evolve, as we have seen her do the amazing Adventureland, The Runaways (which I gave an A- to) and Welcome to the Rileys (which I graded a B) during her hiatuses between her turns as Bella Swan, and has Walter Salles’ adaptation of On the Road and the title role in Snow White and the Huntsmen (this is the kick-ass-looking one not the Julia Roberts one) coming in the future. As for Mr. Pattinson, he’s also stretched out a bit in between Twilight films, with roles in last year’s Remember Me (which I graded a B-) and this year’s Water for Elephants (which I gave a B to), and the guy is set to be the lead in Cosmopolis, David Cronenberg’s adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel, so you can say i’m excited about that.

Now, I’ve spent about half of a usual review of mine talking about projects that young actors extremely closely associated to iconic roles take right after that chapter of their lives, and that’s because for them that’s many times make or break, and successful or not-so-successful careers can be generated out of the decisions they take at those moments. In a year Taylor Lautner won’t get to be seen as Jacob Black in any new Twilight movies, so it’s about time the guy started generating something new for himself, a new path after his time as a werewolf is up. Last year he had a role in Valentine’s Day (which I graded a C-), but it was a supporting role in a huge cast, the guy still hadn’t proven himself in a lead role. And an action star really would be a fitting role for him, he had the looks and physique, so when I heard about Abduction I thought it was a solid vehicle for him to try out his chops at, considering it had a proven director in John Singleton and a supporting cast full of really great people.

But for all it had going for it on paper as a good vehicle for Mr. Lautner to commence his post-Twilight career in, it ended up being one of the very worst movies I have seen all year. It’s just a very very insipid action/thriller sort of ride, and not even Tom Cruise or someone used to doing these films would be able to salvage it, let alone someone as inexperienced as Taylor Lautner, and I just can’t believe this film came from the same director who gave us Boyz N The Hood, even though it’s been two decades since that one, Mr. Singleton must’ve really needed the money from this one. There are times in which the director seems to be bringing his A-game here, or at least his B-game, when there are scenes between Jason Isaacs and Mr. Lautner and he gets to explore the father-son bond between those two characters, those scenes are okay, but soon after Mr. Lautner’s character will find out that his existence so far isn’t what it has appeared to be and goes into a mission to find out about his real self.

Abduction is just a horrible film really shouldn’t exist at all, that’s how bad I actually think it is, Mr. Isaacs gives it some soul in his early scenes, Alfred Molina’s here doing his usual fine work but it’s gone to waste, and actresses like Sigourney Weaver and Maria Bello are also here, bringing the film some sense of pedigree but handling a pair of thankless roles that don’t make the film better by the tiniest of bits. I kind of feel sorry for young Mr. Lautner here, I mean he was bad in this film but that was because he was given material not even an experienced action-star could have make work, less so when you have a director like John Singleton, who’s been so good in the past but that just doesn’t even try here to make something out of this. So for the teen wolf it was a horrible first strike, but hopefully his next at-bat will bring better results.

Grade: D+


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