Sunday, November 30, 2014

Abduction 1/2 Star

    "Abduction," is a 2011 thriller that attempts to cash in on the popularity of a young, and inexperienced actor, who starred in a series of blockbuster films that comprise the "Twilight" saga. Now, on the surface of things, this may seem like a logical decision, and maybe even downright brilliant. I can hear the casting director now: "Let's cast an actor, who helped contribute to the financial gain of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, and who has posters in every teenage girl's room all over the country."  What could go wrong?

    Well, in the case of "Abduction," everything. Beyond the uninspired script, which exhibits a lack of understanding as to what makes a picture worth watching, you will find: lackadaisical performances, horrid execution of computer graphic imaging, and a story that is as idiotic as some of the worst plot lines in cinema history.

    However, to say that Taylor Lautner is a terrible actor, or even to claim that he is a promising one, is clearly misguided, and much of his performance here is irrelevant in regard to those notions. Sure, his delivery of lines are not masterful to say the least, and his looks of reaction seem mostly like strained, and relatively overemphasized, looks of smolder. Yet, this is partly due to the conditioning received in the above-mentioned set of films, in which Lautner was required to project such demeaning qualities. These constraints surely exist here, as this picture becomes nothing more than an outlet for the hormonal frustrations of thousands of young women.

    The plot (which I have already designated as idiotic, and you will most certainly understand why), consists of the mysterious identity of a certain teenage male, Nathan Harper, who lives in a quiet suburban area of Pittsburgh. Nathan seemingly has it all: a cool motorcycle, a loving set of parents, and the affectionate gazes of a popular high school cheerleader. This all becomes consigned to oblivion, however, when Nathan is assigned to work on a ten-page sociology report, where a chance event turns into international intrigue.

    Apparently, our protagonist's real father, (he soon learns that he is adopted) has stolen a key piece of information from a ruthless foreign mastermind, who subsequently sets up an elaborate, and completely half-baked, scheme, to ransom Nathan and retrieve the purloined data. The Serbian terrorist, Nikola Kozlow, is obviously a hard determinist or he has a hand in the agenda of the local high school. Let's break it down here; a sociology report warrants Lautner to search a missing persons' website, where he stumbles upon a picture of himself, which in turn, triggers the plot, because Kozlow set up this faux site in hopes that our main character will miraculously find it, and thus, give away his location.

    Besides the obvious fact that this could have taken years to unfold, (I guess an anonymous e-mail, with a link to the website, was too straightforward) numerous other questions arise. Why not just go after the man who stole the much sought after encrypted code in the first place? Why, after all these many years, would the father even care if his son is ransomed? Our leading persona questions the latter concept as well and receives an answer of, "You must not know your father." No, we do not, and this is much of the problem.

    "Abduction" is the epitome of carelessness. Case in point: there is a scene in which the antagonists shoot up a small diner, where our lead character is having a meal with the CIA, and the stock characters are entirely absent. There is no waitress present, although their food has already been served, and no cook, although they evidently have food on their plates. The only quality of a cinematic film that "Abduction" displays, is continuous motion, which is not to say anything at all, considering any amateur home video has the same attributes.

    Nevertheless, this picture did indeed capture two awards, albeit at the Teenage Movie Awards, for Best Action Film and Best Action Star, which of course, would seem successful in the minds of those whose intent was to squeeze the pockets of naive (certainly with regard to the art of film) youngsters. Much like his co-stars in the "Twilight" pictures, I would not expect much productivity for the rest of Mr. Lautner's career--and if I'm wrong, then we know where to see the young actor accept his awards.

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