There has been an ill-informed thread of marketing surrounding this film that has packaged Abduction as a teenBourne. This would imply that Taylor Lautner, twi-hard candy and grade A brooder, would be a young hopeful clone of Matt Damon. There’s even a coy reference from Lautner’s love interest that he shares the same furrowed brow as the Hollywood hero.
There has been an
ill-informed thread of marketing surrounding this film that has packaged
Abduction as a teenBourne. This would imply that Taylor Lautner, twi-hard candy
and grade A brooder, would be a young hopeful clone of Matt Damon. There’s even
a coy reference from Lautner’s love interest that he shares the same furrowed
brow as the Hollywood hero.
This comparison though is as accurate a comparing Paris
Hilton to Meryl Streep. Damon grounded his career on writing an Academy
Award-winning piece of cinema, worked his way up and is now one of the top
grossing actors in America. Lautner scored a job based on an ability to sulk,
flex and smoulder. All of the above are fine for a gabble of happy teens, but
when it comes to carrying a thriller-type narrative and the sort of inner
conflict that doesn’t involve a girl and a vampire, this borders on nothing
short of painful.
Abduction starts with Nathan, a broody rebellious youth
whose parents (an upsettingly cast Jason
Isaac and Maria Bello) turn out
to be a couple of bad-ass undercover agents. Things get heavy and Nathan is
forced to take to the road with neighbour Karen (Lily Collins). Hotly pursued by a score of clichéd individuals
after some code or something, Nathan must clamber his way to finding out who he
really is. This of course means extended close-ups of a bewildered Lautner’s
deep-set features, lustful glances between love interests and some hard-packed
punches, conveniently learned through being a high school wrestling champ.
What few major action sequences there are, are, for the most
part, well-executed. Lautner’s bulky frame provides enough force to feel the
impact of what he’s dishing out, proving action movies are the best place for
him. But director John Singleton
wants more than your vehicle of chaos, he wants a character. And whatever he is
wishing from Taylor Lautner, he is not getting. Any dialogue, any reaction or
pensive movement are nothing short of uncomfortable to watch, leaving Nathan a
void of blandness.
For a character that has lost all sense of identity, as well
as some significant loved ones, he seems unconvincingly blasé, blundering from
obstacle to obstacle with fists dragging on the floor with a face that doesn’t
change once in the film’s 106 minutes. Jason Bourne’s anonymity is embraced as
a convincing character trait; any hint at aggression, shock or remorse are subtly played to the film’s
advantage. With Lautner it’s just boring. Lily Collins is sweet enough and the
hormone heavy scenes on her part are relatively convincing, but Sigourney Weaver’s mysterious therapist
Dr Bennett is just unbearable and assists in Abduction’s downward spiral.
The only way to cope with this severe mismatch of cinema is
to laugh. So sincerely corny is the dialogue, so mechanical the interaction
between cast and so predictable the plot, it’s either that or angry tears.
Never from experience has the inevitable final kiss caused a sarcastic series
of whoops and cheers from viewers. This is gloriously awful cinema at its best,
and while Abduction provides an entertaining evening, it can only be hoped that
once the Twilight franchise has burned out Taylor Lautner’s taste for a diverse
career goes with it.