‘Abduction’ was a litmus tests of sorts to see if Taylor Lautner could open a film with his name above the title…the answer, at this time at least, is maybe. The film has not make back its production cost in the U.S. yet, but seems to have fared better overseas. The problem for Lautner is that the franchise which has propelled him to popularity (‘Twilight’ if you have been living in a cave for the last decade) is also the very role that stereotypes him and thus could hold his career back. However, ‘Abduction’ isn’t a bad film; it is just a film that has a hard time finding its audience. It isn’t a teen flick per se, but has young romance and teen antics. It has a lot of action, but I feel action film fans want to stay away because of the teen angle.
I imagine if Lautner can weather the next few years and not become a teen werewolf cliché he will have a long career. He has charisma along with an ability to do acrobatic stunts without the aid of a stuntman. He is in practically every scene of ‘Abduction’ which also has a surprising array of familiar faces playing supporting roles including; Maria Bello, Alfred Molina, and Sigourney Weaver.
The opening scene was both thrilling and bothersome with Lautner riding on the hood of a car while his friends are driving. It looked like the ultimate in freedom and I’m sure in reality he was latched in and the car wasn’t going half as fast as it appeared, yet I felt the bit needed to come with some sort of ‘don’t try this at home kids’ warning. Their destination is a pool party where the friendly threesome joke and josh until Nathan’s (Lautner) neighbor (Lily Collins, daughter of Phil) walks by with her collage aged boyfriend. Apparently Nathan has been crushing on Karen since middle school, but as far as they appear to have gone is give each other the occasional longing glance in the school halls. However fate plays a role and the two of them are assigned a sociology assignment that requires working together during off school hours. It is during their initial stage of research that Kate (Collin’s character) finds a website for missing children where a ‘what they would look like now’ drawing appears to have the same mug as Nathan. A phone call later and all hell breaks loose.
‘Abduction’ isn’t the best action film I have ever seen by a long shot, but it was a lot better than I thought it would be. In many ways it reminded me of 1983’s ‘WarGames’ with a young hero trying to run from/outsmart government officials along with a villain and his syndicate (Michael Nyqvist best known to American audiences for his role in the Swedish version of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’). John Singleton directed (it is his first film since 2005’s ‘Four Brothers’).
There were flaws in the film such as an injured Nathan walking around after jamming his ankle into the pavement after leaping down from a few floors (think Michael Lohan except without the tree breaking his fall). At times he is limping and at other times he is actually looks like he is running at a good clip, but these flaws are minor. Overall I would recommend ‘Abduction’ for a DVD rental or a cable viewing. I don’t think it is necessary to go see it in the theater, particularly if you are an adult and don’t want to sit amongst a few of Lautner’s younger fans.