Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Abduction (2011) *½

PG-13, 106 min.
Director: John Singleton
Writer: Shawn Christensen
Starring: Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Michael Nyqvist, Sigourney Weaver, Maria Bello, Jason Isaacs, Denzel Whitaker, Victor Slezak, Antonique Smith, Dermot Mulroney

Hrm. Once again we have one of those movies that inspires mostly grunts of discontent from me. This one really isn’t even all that bad. It just isn’t good. I feel like I’ve written those same words about other movies before. I’m sure I have. Well, this one is so much the same as other movies; in fact, it feels like it is another movie.

This is a thriller, directed by once wunderkind director of “Boyz ‘n the Hood” John Singleton, which plays like an after school special version of a thriller. Let’s see what happens when the teenagers are thrown into the “wrong man on the run” thriller format. Guess what? They mimic exactly what they’ve see adults do in those movies, without any of the gravity of experience behind their actions.

One of the main reasons for that is that Taylor Lautner, of “Twilight” fame, plays the lead. Now, I really make it a point not to rail actors, for I know from experience that they are really just some of the tools of the production. They are skilled artists, who often don’t have control over how their talents are used. Lautner, however, really needs to take some acting classes. He’s not a “bad” actor, but he has so little presence there’s little evidence of any acting at all. Often that is what a good actor is striving for; in this case, it is a matter of no purpose surfacing in the performance. Shit is blowin’ up around you, man! I think you should probably react to that!

The supporting cast is filled with great veteran character actors. Alfred Molina, Sigourney Weaver, Jason Isaacs, Maria Bello… I mean these are great actors. I’m not so sure the thinking is sound behind the idea of surrounding your inexperienced lead with the best in the business. It just makes me want to watch another movie with those actors and not Lautner. Or Lautner could be in it too, but I’d like his character to die in the first ten minutes instead.

Perhaps the biggest problem with “Abduction”, though, is its title. When you read the title “Abduction”, I think it’s safe to assume that someone is abducted in the movie. Would you believe that there are absolutely no abductions at all to be found in the movie titled “Abduction”!!! What is with that?! No wait, I’ve fibbed. Lily Collins is abducted for a few moments on a train, well after the events of the film have been set into play. She’s held for 2-3 minutes at best while Lautner suddenly remembers that he’s been trained in hand to hand combat. Do you forget something like that? 

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