Will Taylor Lautner be a big star outside the Twilight franchise? Abduction was supposed to be the movie that showed us if he could succeed without turning into a wolf, but to be honest it’s still impossible to tell. That’s not because Taylor does anything wrong, but because Abduction is so busy getting from A to B to C that it doesn’t really give its star time to show off more than he’s quite god at fighting and stunts.
The young actor plays Nathan, who’s happily living his suburban teenage life when he and friend Karen (Lily Collins) come across what appears to be a picture of him on a missing person’s website. Suspecting his parents may have abducted him as a child, Nathan’s life really goes haywire when armed men suddenly invade the family home and kill the people he believed were his mum and dad.
Nathan and Karen then go on the run, not trusting anybody as they try to work out what’s going on, why Nathan was abducted as a child and who the shady foreigners are who are intent on chasing them down and killing anyone and everyone who gets in their way.
The movie has a slightly 1980s sensibility, where preposterousness is irrelevant as long the film keeps driving forward like a bulldozer, trampling logic into the floor as it goes. Abduction seems to know this, with characters occasionally saying things that sound like apologies for the fact nobody acts like a normal human being. Buy hey, this is cinema, so as long as cars are going over the speed limit and things explode occasionally, that’s all that matters, right? Well, it can help to a certain extent, but Abduction takes silliness about as far as it’s possible to without completely ruining a movie. It means the movie is an efficient action film that does what it sets out to competently, but there’s little about it that makes it stand out from the pack, or indeed ensure you’ll remember anything about it after the credits rolls.
It’s a shame really, as the premise of a teen discovering he was kidnapped as a child promises so much, but Abduction squanders that completely. Instead of running with what is a very intriguing set-up, it undermines it by turning things from an interesting search for Nathan’s origins into a generic conspiracy thriller about a list. There’s a sense that someone wanted to ensure this could work as the opening episode of a franchise, and in doing so have stamped out what could have made this truly worthwhile. Also rather wasted are Jason Isaacs, Maria Bello, Sigourney Weaver and Alfred Molina, who get about two scenes each and don’t really have much to do.
There’s nothing that truly dreadful about Abduction, but there’s not a huge amount that’s good either. It’s largely a lot of promise squandered and turned into a movie that simply wants to get from the beginning to the end as efficiently as possible, without really thinking too much about making what happens in the middle truly special.
The special feature mainly seem to exist in order to get Taylor Lautner fans screaming, as they all revolve around him. While each of the four featurettes has a different title and ostensibly concentrates on a different aspect of the film, they’re essentially the same thing repeated, with Taylor continually assuring us how great everything about the film (including himself) is.
If you are a Lautner groupie, you’ll probably be more than satisfied by Abduction, as his toothy buffness is in pretty much every shot, and there’s no doubt he has the potential to be a pretty good action star. However despite a great premise, this isn’t a great vehicle for him, as it’s too busy being efficient to actually be truly good.
Overall Verdict: The movie gets from A-Z and Taylor Lautner furrows his brow as he tries to launch himself as an action star, but it’s too silly, convoluted and generic to raise itself out of the ever jostling action pack. Lautner’s essentially the sole selling point, which may work for some but certainly not for all.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac