To the best of my knowledge, Taylor Lautner’s fame and success derive entirely from the rather tedious and unmemorable fact that he’s put a lot of effort into defining his abdominal muscles. That’s it, isn’t it? He’s certainly not actually attractive, what with having a head exactly the same width as his neck and a face that looks like someone’s set off a very small grenade inside a conker, and if you’ve ever seen him stand in front of a camera reading an autocue (in Twilight, mostly) you’ll know that for Taylor ‘acting’ is simply another inaccessible polysyllable. Anyway, I’ve come up with a nice little earner for Taylor – what, were you expecting him to do his own thinking? I assume he supplements his huge income with a series of ads for underwear, cologne and whatnot, but if he really wants to rake in the big bucks Taylor should be signing a deal with Marie Stopes International. ‘Sometimes’, the tagline would run, ‘it’s better not to know how they would have turned out’.
Nathan (Lautner) has never felt like he fitted in. “I walk down the street like everyone else,” he tells his psychiatrist Professor Obviously Not A Real Psychiatrist (Sigourney Weaver, for some fucking reason), “but I’m just too hench and full of feelings of alienation to not be the child of a secret agent.” Something like that, anyway. Nathan’s thrilled, probably, to be paired up with the Girl from Across the Street (Collins; genuinely can’t remember her character’s name) for a Sociology project, but when Girl stumbles across a photo of Nathan on a missing persons website he realises his life may not be what it seems. And then the bad men come and kill his parents, except they’re NOT HIS PARENTS THEY’RE CIA NINJAS. Nathan and Girl escape (“There’s a bomb in the oven!” Serious.) and go on the run with the help of Professor O.N.A.R.P.. But why? I feel ready for an info-dump…
Basically, explains Suspicious CIA Agent Alfred Molina, this is what’s going down: Nathan’s dad is a Tom Clancy character engaged in fucking up the Russians or whatever, and Nathan’s been in protective custody his whole life so he doesn’t get kidnapped and used as a bargaining tool by, eg, Serbian mercenary Kozlow (Michael Nyqvist), who’s currently trying to kidnap Nathan and use him as a bargaining tool (did you see that coming?) because Nathan Senior has nicked some sensitive data from him. So THIS is why we had a ten minute scene of Nathan and his Fake CIA Dad sparring earlier, it’s because he’s been trained up to ninj his way out of trouble! Nathan and Girl go on the run from both the CIA and the gangsters, and shit goes down. Repeatedly.
John Singleton was, at one point, the youngest ever person (and only ever African American) to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director; his debut Boyz n the Hood, which he wrote and directed aged just 24, was also nominated for Best Screenplay. Whatever happened? Singleton’s descent into straight-to-DVD dross is complete with this utter nonsense, a cack-handed amalgam of the Bourne trilogy and the ill-fated Stormbreaker with none of the former film’s verve or the latter’s vague originality. The plot’s jerking progression relies at every turn on a series of technological impossibilities and quantum leaps of coincidence which I shan’t even bother to recount; suffice to say that if the CIA can really do the things Abduction thinks they can we should all be very scared.
A much, much better actor than Taylor Lautner would still have been defeated by the gaping plot holes, asinine script and dire characterisation of Abduction; as it was, Lautner’s one-note and frequently shirtless performance displaced Alex Pettyfer from the ‘Shittiest Action Hero of the Year’ podium. Lily Collins stares at him and whines, as leading ladies evidently must, and both Molina and Weaver look deeply awkward throughout. Have the producers taken a leaf out of their own book and abducted their children? Christ knows how else they got involved.
Do you know the worst thing? There’s no abduction in Abduction. None. One of the secondary characters tries and fails to abduct the protagonist, I suppose, but that’s hardly a basis for giving it such a misleading name. If we’re going to go down the ‘the film’s name should be something which doesn’t quite happen in the film itself’ route, then the producers of Forrest Gump really missed a trick – guys, what about renaming it Getting Your Son into High School Without Having To Suck Off The Headmaster for the Blu-Ray release? For pity’s sake, don’t see Abduction – and if someone you love wants to see it, kill them with a spade. It’s the kindest thing to do.