Want to see ‘Abduction’? Don’t.
Among the many pitfalls “Abduction” encounters, one in particular stands out in stark contrast to the rest: How can you, in a movie titled “Abduction,” not have anyone actually abducted?
Gaggles of “Twilight” fans flocked in the attempt to sneak a peek at resident werewolf Taylor Lautner’s ridiculous abs. It better be enough for them, though, because they won’t be leaving the theater with anything else. With a nonsensical and hole-ridden plot, stale and uninspired acting and copious plifering from better movies, “Abduction” will undoubtedly win big at next year’s Razzies.
Continuing his uneven career, director John Singelton (“Boyz in the Hood,” “2 Fast 2 Furious”) hobbles together a thriller that makes “Spy Kids” look thrilling. We’re quickly introduced to a loutish Nathan Price (a mechanical and boring Lautner), who is on his way to a drunken school party. A shirtless scene later, we’re taken to his suburban home. Instead of reprimanding him for such reckless antics, his dad (Jason Isaacs, “The Patriot”) initiates a brutal sparring match, with fists and feet flying everywhere. Mom (Maria Bello, “A History of Violence”) watches from afar. Just a normal morning in suburbia, for sure.
But this shiny veneer soon cracks. Nathan, while researching a school sociology project, discovers his baby picture on a missing persons website, leaping to the conclusion his parents aren’t who they say they are. Matters become even more muddled when men in black show up after his Internet search (and they say Facebook doesn’t respect privacy) and shoot up the place, resulting in one of the movie’s best howlers: “I’m not dying here; there’s a bomb in the oven.” If only this film could have been in that house…
In an blatant “Bourne” rip-off, Nathan and his crush, Karen (a useless Lily Collins, “The Blind Side”), run off into the great unknown. Through the following epilepsy-inducing cuts, we learn they are being chased by a ruthless Serbian (Michael Nyqvist, 2009’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) and a sketchy CIA agent (Alfred Molina, “Chocolat”), who both seek to nab a digitally encoded list of names. An endless stream of cellphones, surveillance cameras and tracking devices provide mind-numbing dialogue along the way. We have to learn what’s going on somehow.
For being a thriller, “Abduction” really couldn’t be more bland. Explosions are over-the-top but don’t threaten the main characters. Hand-to-hand combat comes across as staged. Clichéd sets, including safe houses and train compartments, litter the scenes. No sense of urgency pierces though, only a headache-causing confusion.
On that note, “Abduction” surprisingly is rated PG, despite the nonstop violence, some harsh language and an awkward scene where the young couple grope and grind for a bit. (It didn’t go anywhere, but it was more risqué than a PG rating should allow.)
It kind of shocking how bad “Abduction” is. There’s a sense it’s riding “Twilight’s” coattails, having Lautner bare-chested and teeth-barred more often than needed. It’s a shame his vapid personality fails to establish an emotional center worthy of a story’s protagonist.
One stupid star out of five.