By Bret Dorman
I try to go into every movie with a positive attitude. Either I think the movie will be good and am hoping it lives up to certain expectations or I think it will be bad and am hoping it surprises me. But every once in a while I know there will be a movie that will be bad and I take pleasure in its badness.
The Story: Nathan (Taylor Lautner) finds out his parents may not be his parents so he gets his would be girlfriend Karen (Lily Collins) to join him on an extremely dangerous mission to uncover the truth. How romantic and dreamy! Also, the CIA’s way of being covert is standing outside a diner with shotguns.
I don’t have anything against Taylor Lautner. Really. So he is in a terrible ass movie about vampires and werewolves. So what? A lot of actors I love are in terrible movies too. The problem is, Lautner can’t act. He just can not do it. He is very physical and can perform the stunts and martial arts well. But they have a job for people like this. It’s called a stuntman.
Lautner should actually be very thankful for his fans. He was almost dropped from the second Twilight movie and replaced by someone else until his fans rallied behind him. Turns out 12 year old girls know how to really exploit the internet and twitter. Even more so than fan boys. Lautner owes his entire ‘acting’ career to these faithful females. He should thank them in every movie by taking off his shirt as much as possible.
Which leads me to one of the many problems with Abduction. Lautner doesn’t spend nearly as much time shirtless as he could have. Now, I’m not gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but I admit there is a double standard in Hollywood and it’s time to give the ladies what they want. Also, Lautner plays every girl’s dream boy. Wild party boy who is also sensitive and he even tosses his shirt into a closet last minute to ‘clean his room’ to make the best impression for his secret crush/childhood friend and gal pal. Teehee!
It’s funny how Lautner here is basically playing a very dumbed down version of a generic action star. This movie is clearly designed to be an action movie but made for people who don’t know anything about action, like twelve year old girls (I’m not trying to be sexist, but when I say ‘twelve year old girls’ I’m talking about that giddy gossipy sparkle mentality. It could apply to a 35 year old man if he giggles and has fake sparkle stones on his phone). The girl in this movie though is basically just a blank slate (even more so than the girl from Twilight). Lily Collins is a better actress given the material than let’s say, Kristen Stewart given hers, but ultimately the role is purposefully generic so all the girls watching it can transplant themselves into the role.
This movie also fails to be a competent formulaic movie. It hit s the overall beats but there are some things that just don’t make sense. For instance after beating up one guy Lautner steps on his glasses to be EXTRA cool (and dreamy) but at no point was the man’s glasses pointed out as something unique before hand. It’s like the people making the movie saw other movies where the bad guy has a funny quirk or prop and the good guy after defeating him does something funny in relation to the quirk or prop and it’s effective as a badass/funny moment. But here they just don’t seem to understand the basic mechanics of that.
Another failure to follow formula comes in the phrase “trust needs to be earned”. He says it once to his gal pal and then once very shortly after to the Sigourney Weaver character who (Spoiler) if you think died in that ‘car crash’ are an idiot. But then he has TWO moments again near the end of the film that specifically deal with “trust” and he doesn’t mention it. 1) The rule of threes should apply and 2) Why waste an opportunity for a call back? They use it once, then twice immediately after, and then drop it all together.
There are other things that don’t make sense either. The man he doesn’t trust who is in charge of some CIA special ops is after him and in order to prove he is a ‘good guy’ Lautner asks him “What’s my name… my REAL name?!” Yes, because no bad guy who has the CIA at his disposal would know that.
Lautner at one point is walking through weeds and he says of his parents, “Sparring, wrestling, training… preparing me for this moment.” Really, they were training you to walk in weeds? I get that he means the whole atmosphere of the situation but still… if they were training him so intensely for “THIS moment” why does he punch a henchmen several times then shake his hand like it hurt him, then keep punching? Oh I know, because it’s funny and cute and dreamy! It also breaks character and tone, proving this film isn’t concerned with making a good movie, it’s concerned with making a ‘familiar’ one.
This movie is PG13 and good ol’ Alfred Molina gets to drop the one and only F-Bomb. He is standing over some random henchmen who was killed by Lautner and he exclaims “This really is Martin’s FUCKING kid!” What a waste on all levels.
The whole high school atmosphere is like, totally fake. The party they have at the beginning (“We got bitches waiting for us!” yes, because my dream man calls me a bitch) is very generically fake. It’s supposed to be a real party but looks nothing like a real one except that people will see it on the big screen and think that’s what their party should look like and try to replicate it. I hate these people. It also has a very tense moment of one character bumping into another.
Also, one guy refers to going to the gun range to blow off steam like it’s normal. And that character is also a joke and comic relief and not good at wrestling yet still somehow managed to make it on the wrestling team, which I am assuming had tryouts of some sort. How exactly?
At one point they cross a river so the bad guys can’t track them then SPEND THE ENTIRE NIGHT sleeping on the other side of the river. “Well guys, looks like their tracks lead into the river. No point in checking the other side though… they are probably long gone by now. Who’s hungry?”
Speaking of hunger… at one point some of the characters are talking and decide to go somewhere ‘safer’ or something and we cut to an exterior of a diner and a CIA agent standing outside with a SHOTGUN. IN PLAIN VIEW! This caused an audible ‘WTF’ laugh from me and several other men in the audience. Then later one CIA agent is ‘disposed of’ and while trying to radio him the other agent does NOTHING. Shows no sign of alarm or urgency. In what situation is it SO important to stand outside of a diner with a shotgun to protect whatever ‘secret’ meeting is happening inside and you don’t hear back from another agent and you do nothing?
Then at the end somehow one character magically manages to get a gun into a baseball stadium for Lautner. What was his plan? Shoot the bad guy in public? Doesn’t matter. He let’s the bad guy get it anyway and has to run away and be saved by someone else. My (dreamy) hero!!!
Lastly, why is the movie called Abduction? He wasn’t ever ‘abducted’. He was given away as a small baby for safe keeping. This is made clear in the trailer, which tries to make the generic plot much more complicated than it needs to:
In Conclusion, while I have railed against Abduction on all levels, it certainly was no surprise. Any PG13 movie for 12 year old girls is bound to be bad. It just sucks that there are a whole bunch of people out there who think this is a good action movie. This movie wasn’t good enough to offend my senses but was terrible enough to warrant another viewing or two to make fun of. At least it provides that kind of entertainment.
Final Grade: D- (for Dreamy!… minus…)