Directed by John Singleton and featuring an all-star cast which includes The Twilight Saga star Taylor Lautner and young actress Lily Collins (soon to star in Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror) alongside Sigourney Weaver, Maria Bello, Jason Isaacs and Alfred Molina, Abduction (2011) is a glossy action-thriller about lost identities and the pursuit of truth.
Lautner plays Nathan, a moody outsider who one day finds out through a series of convoluted coincidences that his parents (played by Isaacs and Bello) are not actually his parents. Before he can really find out how they are, they are killed and his house is blown up. Now Nathan and girl-next-door-love-interest Karen (Collins) are on the run from the CIA (Molina) and ‘evil foreign terrorists’ (led by Michael Nyqvist) with the help of psychiatrist/special agent Weaver in one of her best ‘just give me my cheque’ performances.
The plot, whilst incredibly contrived and very silly, is actually quite intriguing. Just who were Nathan’s ‘parents’? Are the people chasing him really the CIA? What do the terrorists want from him? Unfortunately, none of these points are resolved in a satisfying way and Abduction ends up being a remarkably boring affair about memory chips and mobile phones.
One of the biggest problems the film is protagonist Nathan. Rarely before in an action film has there been a more unlikable and idiotic character. From the get-go, Weaver’s character tells Nathan, “Don’t trust anyone”. So, he gets into cars with strangers, contacts his friends from school who he knows have been in contact with the people chasing him and speaks to his pursuers on the phone long enough for them to trace him at every opportunity.
Another problem with Abduction is that for an action movie, it’s actually rather bland. Whilst a high-octane sequence on a train is fairly good fun, everything else just falls completely flat. The exposition scenes are boring and the fighting scenes suffer from a severe case of ‘seen it before’ syndrome. As for the ‘love story’ between Nathan and Karen – akin to watching two pieces of IKEA furniture rubbing against each other – not only is it wooden, it’s also flat-packed.
Singleton’s Abduction is a bad film – the plot is tired, the characters are idiots and the action scenes are cut and pasted from other (better) movies. Lautner doesn’t seem to be much of an action star and when you think about it, nobody actually gets abducted – ridiculous.