Director: John Singleton
Cast: Taylor Lautner
Watch Abduction online in the UK: Netflix UK / iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Rakuten TV / Google Play / Sky Store
Taylor Lautner plays the role of Nathan, a humanoid black hole in Abduction. During the course of John Singleton’s film, he sucks everyone else into his vacuum and turns respected filmmakers into cheap sideshows for a one-trick-pony act, which is never exciting and almost always uncomfortable to watch. The Lautner/Nathan supernova somehow engulfs Sigourney Weaver, Jason Isaacs, Michael Nyquist and Alfred Molina (three multiple Golden Globe and BAFTA nominees and one Oscar nominee) and makes them predictable, two-dimensional and almost powerfully bland.
Nevertheless, Lautner and co. brave the irresponsibly-written vortex and lazily-placed action sequences to bring you the tale of a teenage boy, who discovers, between riding his motorcycle without a helmet – but with aviator glasses – and shouting “Woo, let’s get wasted!”, that his parents are not his parents at all. He’s actually the son of a very mysterious and important spy, who has stolen some very mysterious and important information. Duh.
Every now and then throughout his expedition into this deadly world of corruption, Nathan attempts to tell Phil Collins’ daughter that he quite fancies her. Unsure of who to trust and realising that he alone can bring about the film’s inevitable and foreseeable plot twists, he goes on the run to find his father, get the girl and stop the bad guys.
It sounds straightforward but Abduction is surprisingly inconsistent. At one point, Lautner dumps the body of an outfought foe – thanks to years of martial arts training and clichéd combat wisdom from Isaacs’ father – out of a train window. At another, he murders a henchman for no reason, unless he’s just trying to impress his date. In which case he should probably just take his shirt off. Which he does. Nathan also has a few scenes where he demonstrates how much the trauma of watching his fake parents being systematically assassinated has affected him: he cries in his sleep and sometimes gets a bit angry. Then he goes back to cracking jokes and trying to impress Phil Collins’ daughter.
Abduction could work. It is passably directed by (yet another Academy Award nominee) John Singleton and contains some actors than can, in other films, act. But it is edited into a 12A-rated yawn, whose slapdash writing and constant stereotyping of every single character does our hero no favours.
Still, Lautner does have some strengths. He’s attractive; he’s extremely athletic; he can, in certain situations, turn into a wolf. Someone, somewhere has the perfect Taylor Lautner vehicle. Sadly, Abduction is not it. As a product for swooning teens, Abduction just about succeeds but as anything else, including a watchable film, it’s a joke.
Abduction is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.
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