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Nathan, a teen, along with his friend, Karen, finds a website that has photos of children who are missing or believed to have been abducted. They decide to age one of the photos and discover that it is of Nathan as a child. He contacts the person who placed the photo to find out what's going on. The person on the other end only wants to know info about Nathan, so Nathan hangs up. That person then contacts someone in Europe and shows him a photo of the one who called. He then heads for the U.S. Nathan then wonders if it's true he was abducted. He tells his "mom" who then tells him she and his "father" will tell him. But before they can, two men claiming to be cops show up wanting to talk to Nathan, and when he isn't found they pull guns and demand Nathan be given to them. His parents fight them but are killed. Nathan runs but remembers that he asked Karen to come over and one of them tries to get rough with her but Nathan saves her and they escape just as the house blows up. They go to... Written by
Shawn Christensen said that the story for the film was taken from a single idea of a teenager who sees a photo of himself on a missing persons website. He completed the first draft in two months. See more »
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Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo! Whoo! Yeah, baby! Yeah, Gilly, get out here!
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Let me open with what any film review should address: I did not enjoy this movie. But first, a disclaimer: despite my reasons, I want to assure you that none of my negative points will verbally lambast lead actor Taylor Lautner just because 'he's some guy from Twilight.' Nor will I make scalding reference to his gratuitous lack of upper body wear; the kind that one would hope comes off as witty commentary but ends up sounding more like an awkward combination of contempt and jealousy. So, with that out of the way, let's get started.
When the shy but short-tempered Nathan (Lautner) is paired up with girl next door Karen (Lily Collins) for a school research assignment, he is shocked to find an image of his younger self on a 'missing persons' website, prompting him to question everything he thought was normal about his life. When the cover is blown, he and Karen find themselves on the run, unable to trust anyone in their search for the truth.
Not only will I not target any more of this review towards Lautner personally, I will even concede that he does his best on what is otherwise a sinking ship from the opening scene. Naturally, his acting skills do need refinement, and I expect we're not looking at the next De Niro here, but his occasionally lackluster delivery is simply a branch of a much bigger problem- the script.
As an unapologetic actioner, it should be expected that Abduction possesses some of the clunky dialogue clichés associated with the genre. These include, but are not limited to 'trust has to be earned', 'I'm not leaving without her' and perennial favourite 'wait how do you know my name?', which is actually used more than once. But among these tired expressions is a handful of headscratchers; lines intended to act as cool quips but possessing an undoubtedly cringe-worthy aftertaste. For example, after Gerry (Sigourney Weaver) helps Nathan escape using balloons to cover security cameras (a la Ocean's Eleven) she releases them with the deadpan, utterly serious line of 'I hate balloons'. So you see my point.
The set pieces are just as ludicrous, asking the viewer to buy into the movie too much when we have not been given any reason to engage with the plot in the first place. In one instance, we bear witness to a CIA agent (operating undercover as a suburban housewife) easily take out two trained assassins. The climax set at a baseball game is a storytelling train wreck, fraught with inconsistencies and overly convenient outcomes. At the very least, I hoped a film set in Pittsburgh would show some love for the mighty Steelers instead of the lowly Pirates, but I digress.
General flaws in logic and realism are other aspects that can be attributed to this type of movie without having them become a major concern. Often, we tend to overlook moments which would result in serious injury for the hero in real life simply because he's just that, a hero. I'm also willing to pass these moments off, but in Abduction they occur so often, and on such a noticeable scale that they severely detract from any engagement with the film that could be developed as it progresses, and therein lies its greatest letdown.
I commend the satisfactory action scenes, which minimised the kind of close-up, rapid camera movement that has drawn the bulk of my ire in recent months. Also, I was pleased to see the film show a bit of gumption by avoiding an entirely happy, alls-well-that-ends-well conclusion, but these upsides are not enough to sweeten what is otherwise an inherently flawed film.
*There's nothing I love more than a bit of feedback, good or bad. So drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you thought of my review.*
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