Before I say anything, let me first state that Lautnerphiles will not be disappointed by Abduction if they are paying the full ticket price just to see Taylor Lautner’s face and abs. That crowd can go ahead and bake a batch of cookies, gossip about the hot guy in school and expect a pleasant night at the movies.
Those hoping to catch anything other than “an evening with the hot guy from Twilight” can expect an assortment of stock characters loosely strung together by an illogical plot sailing on an ocean of tame PG-13 clichés.
Now, for those keeping up, I had an excellent time at the Abduction world premiere in Los Angeles. I got to mingle with stars, get free popcorn and watch a movie before anyone else. I found myself getting cautiously optimistic toward the film and I hadn’t yet seen any press or promotional material for it.
After the first thirty minutes, it became clear that Abduction has a distinct demographic that I am not a member of.
We are introduced to Lautner’s character as he makes his way to a party on the hood of a car. He drinks excessively and wakes up on the front lawn without his shirt. Five minutes in and Lautner already loses his shirt. That’s when I realized exactly what kind of movie I was in for, but I had no idea what was still on its way.
Abduction follows the story of a high schooler named Nathan who discovers via a sociology assignment (did anyone else have sociology in high school?) that his childhood photo is on a missing persons website. He immediately jumps to the conclusion that the child in the picture must be him because the kid in the photo is wearing a stained shirt that Nathan had as a kid. He even still has the shirt as evidence even though that is probably something that a normal person would throw away.
His sociology partner (Lily Collins) thinks that this all sounds too far-fetched (and we don’t blame her) and is skeptical since Nathan is “obviously disturbed”. She has spent the first fifteen minutes of the movie making it clear that she isn’t interested in Lautner’s character and thinks he’s a weirdo because of his “angry outbreaks” that are only mentioned in the exposition. Her disdain obviously doesn’t last long.
I kid you not, this is what happens next. Her shoulder accidentally rubs against his bicep and she becomes tied to him forever. Suddenly they are as close as can be. One shot where she makes contact with his heavenly bod is all the character development we need.
Anyway, a few minutes later, his life is immediately launched into a world of mystery and unease as he begins his quest to find out who he is, who his father is and something about a list.
I would like to be able to say that I didn’t really get what was going on because I wasn’t paying attention, but I was trying my hardest to make sense out of this movie and it just was not complying with me. The mystery and unease came from the mass waves of confusion the film was sending out.
We are introduced to the star studded cast of adults (including Jason Isaacs, Sigourney Weaver and Alfred Molina) and they prove to be nothing but chaperones to a particularly dull and unappealing high school dance that occasionally breaks out into highly choreographed fight sequences.
Now here’s where I’ll actually give the film some credit. Even though there was never any tension or logic in any of the fight sequences (why would Jason Isaacs leap-tackle an assassin when he has a perfectly good gun in his hand?!), I have to admit that all of them were well put together, especially on the sound editing/mixing side. There are four sequences if I remember correctly and they are all pulled off in a way that breathes occasional life into the otherwise stillborn film.
Aside from the fighting, there are also a number of unintentionally funny moments that rendered laughs not just from me, but from everyone in the audience. It was very clear that we were all laughing at the film’s stupidity and we were right there in the theater with the film-makers. Serious lines like “I will kill all of your friends on Facebook,” and “there’s a bomb in the oven” killed like a Jeff Foxworthy joke on Nascar day.
Illogical moves by the characters are frequently explained away with “because they’re watching us,” or “it would be harder to track us,” or “don’t you understand? We can’t just do that!” Taylor Lautner says that they need to jump into an open river to escape detection. This is obviously the worst choice anyone could make in this situation, but they still make their way out of the brush covered land to go for a midnight swim because it “would make them harder to track”.
Oh yeah, they probably did that so that Lily Collin’s would get cold (you can tell because she’s saying “brrrrrr.” I wish I was making that up,) and there would be an excuse to have a cute “cuddle by a tree and try to not get hypothermia” scene.
They conveniently have to drive a number of different types of cars (“because they’re watching us”), their entire journey detours them onto an Amtrak train (I remember the type of train because the logo is flashed no more less than fourteen times) and they all drink a lot of Coke and Diet Coke (with the labels facing the camera of course).
It all comes down to everyone trying to track down Taylor Lautner and his newly imprinted gal pal and frankly after a while the already stale game gets even staler. It was like someone had a vague idea for a film and tried to stretch it as far as it could go and then sealed down the sure thing by getting Taylor Lautner’s million dollar face on the poster.
Even the poster is more exciting than the movie. Y’know the poster that features Taylor Lautner sliding down what looks like the side of a building and there’s all the cool broken glass flying everywhere? I’ll break the news to you, he does it at the end of the film, and it’s not a building. It’s a weird glass statue that’s about ten to twenty feet tall and there is no broken glass.
That comparison is the absolute best way to compare this film to the advertisements. You were promised a thrilling action movie from the world’s newest action star and were left with an awkwardly sterile compilation of tame PG-13 danger.
Overall, the movie was an illogical mess packed with unintentionally funny moments, overtly obvious money grabbing and great actors that were given nothing good to say. Throw in a Justin Beiber joke and a steamy make out scene and you have Abduction.