Pros: Interesting idea. Few decent cast members.
Cons: Acting could be better. Plot holes. Pacing issues.
I haven't been overly impressed with Taylor Lautner so far. He became famous for his role in the Twilight movies. It seems like he trying to stretch a bit with other roles. I thought that the trailer for his new movie Abduction looked interesting. I decided to see it when I had the chance.
High school senior Nathan has a pretty good life. He is kind of pining for Karen, the girl who lives across the street. The two of them are assigned to work together on a project for a class. While doing research, Karen discovers a picture of a little boy on a missing person website that looks like Nathan. Soon after that, two men show up at the house and kill Nathan's parents. Karen sees what happens, and she and Nathan go on the run with various people after them, including the CIA.
Time is taken at the beginning of Abduction to show Nathan's life before everything started happening. He is upset that his parents grounded him, but he still has a decent relationship with them overall. He acts like a typical teenager and is a little moody at times. The pacing is slower during this part and it does seem to take too long for things to start happening. Just about everything that happens is predictable in some way, even things that are intended to be twists. There is an attempt to make the story more complicated, but it ends up being rather simple overall. There is a little bit of mystery tied to what is going on, but it is weak.
The general plot of Abduction has potential. Unfortunately, it isn't realized and the movie ends up with several problems. I think the idea of Nathan stumbling onto something that makes him doubt his life is interesting. The fact that he is a teenager, even though he is on the wrestling team and his dad has trained him in fighting, makes most of what happens not as believable. Nathan and Karen, especially Nathan, are able to do things that just aren't realistic. The trailers make it look like the movie will be action packed. While there are some action scenes, there aren't enough to make the movie action packed. The action scenes mostly involve Nathan fighting. They are entertaining, but they aren't believable. Nathan is hit a lot in a few scenes, but he is never injured. He doesn't even get a bruise. Considering everything they go through, Nathan and Karen never show signs of the injuries they should have. That is a small issue, but it is something I noticed.
Nathan and Karen keep doing stupid things throughout Abduction and that bugged me. After questions have been raised for Nathan, he goes back to the missing person website while with Karen. They start to get a bad feeling about things just before Nathan notices that the webcam has been activated. They don't consider that some kind of hacking could have been done to track them even after Nathan's parents are murdered. When Ethan calls 911 from a hospital, he ends up talking to someone from the CIA, yet later in the movie he is able to call his friend Gilly without anyone finding out, even after it is said that all of Nathan's friends will be watched. A couple of things happen that make it clear that cell phones are compromised, but he keeps using them. At one point, they are just walking down the side of the road in broad daylight with no attempt to disguise themselves. Nathan thinks that he can deal with things on his own, which is just ridiculous and not at all believable.
It is clear very early in Abduction that Nathan has feelings for Karen. The two seem a little uncomfortable with each other when they start working on their project. Nathan charges into danger to protect her and then refuses to leave her. It comes out that she is interested in him as well, and time is taken for a make out session even though their lives are still very much in danger. They only stop because they decide they need to eat. The relationship stuff isn't handled well at all and is just stupid. That scene does seem out of place, almost like it has been put in to try to appeal to all the teenage girls that go ga-ga over Lautner. All it adds to the movie is another stupid sequence.
Nathan starts off seeming like a normal teenager. He is doing something incredibly stupid when he first shows up in the movie. That is the only thing like that he does, but he keeps doing other stupid things. It does seem like Taylor Lautner is trying to move beyond the Twilight movies, but he hasn't accomplished much with this movie. He does end up brooding at times again and most of his expressions are the same. He has a lot of work ahead of him if he wants to grow as an actor. Mario Bello and Jason Isaacs are in a few scenes as Mara and Kevin, Nathan's parents.
Gilly is Nathan's best friend who is good at making fake drivers licenses. Gilly seems nice enough, but he isn't around enough to be developed. Denzel Whitaker doesn't have a lot to do with the part. Karen lives across the street from Nathan and is the girl that he's interested in. She is in most of the movie without really doing much. There's nothing special about the character and Lily Collins isn't anything special in the part.
Dr. Bennet is the psychiatrist that Nathan has been going to see. Only part of one session is mentioned and it does come up that Nathan has had anger issues in the past. After more starts happening, Dr. Bennet turns up again, claiming that Nathan can trust her. Sigourney Weaver is wasted in the part since she barely does anything. Kozlow is the main villain of the movie. He isn't around enough to be really creepy or intimidating. Agent Burton is with the CIA and he is in charge of trying to find Nathan. Alfred Molina is fine in the part.
Maria Bello - Mara
Lily Collins - Karen
Jason Isaacs - Kevin
Taylor Lautner - Nathan
Alfred Molina - Agent Burton
Denzel Whitaker - Gilly
John Singleton - Director
Abduction fails to live up to the potential of the story. It isn't a horrible movie, but it isn't great either and it ends up with several plot holes. The movie is really aimed at fans of Taylor Lautner, who probably won't care about the problems. A lot of people aren't going to like this movie.
I would have rated this movie 2.5 stars if I had the option. I considered rounding up to 3, but that rating seemed too high for the movie, so I went with 2.
This review is part of talyseon's It's Elementary My Dear! Mystery Write-off.