Abduction Movie Review
If you listen carefully you can actually hear your brain cells dying while watching this film.
OK. This movie sucked, but really that kind of falls into the category of “Gee, Dave. What were you expecting?” The problem is in addition to wooden, soulless “acting” and amateurish action, the plot has holes in it so massive they have collapsed in on themselves and each created a quantum singularity, sucking the rest of the film (and probably the next three films you see) into oblivion. The biggest one, and the one that had me grinding my teeth last night as I tried to fall asleep, the fact that the movie is called Abduction and yet through the entirety of the film ABSOLUTELY NO ONE IS EVER ABDUCTED! The trailers made it seem as if his foster parents had kidnapped him from some kind of super secret lab (a much better story, IMO) or WalMart parking lot, but the fact is he was placed in a foster care home with the blessings of his widowed father. During the entire movie there is no other reference to anyone being abducted, except for the fact that he finds his picture on an abduction website. That, however, is quickly established as a trap to try to find the kid. At one point his love interest gets tied up, but that is more of a hostage/prisoner situation than an actual abduction. No abducting goes on through the course of the movie.
I can actually see the retarded logic that led to this title. Odds are the working title was originally more descriptive. Something like Sizzle Chest Man Boy Shows off his Amazing Abs for all the Dumb Teenage Girls. Oh, Yeah. There are Some Spies in There Somewhere Too. At some point the producers (who go suspiciously uncredited on IMDB. I had to dig into an open casting call in order to find their names. Just to make sure all credit gets to the deserving, here they are: Dan Lautner (no other credits. I assume he’s Taylor’s father. Always a good move giving your star’s family a job on the movie), Roy Lee (the Ring, the Grudge, the Departed-anyone else seeing a pattern in these titles), Doug Davison (exact same credits as Roy. Are they related too?), Ellen Goldsmith-Vein (crap and more crap. Also, who is named Vein?), Lee Stollman (no other producer credit, but he gets Thanks credit on a ton of movies, like Pulp Fiction. What do you do to get a Thanks credit? Park the directors car?), and Gabriel Mason (not a lot, but one that has the most amazing title ever: Assassination of a High School President with Bruce Willis (???). I think I have to NetFlix this one)) are all sitting around and one of them says “You know what’s hot lately? One word movie titles. Twilight, Priest, Drive, Taken. We should do something like that.” at which point another one says “Well, there Taylor Lautner is known for his abs, and there is a minor reference to an abduction website. We should call it Abduction.” The rest of them agree and do more coke.
Anyway, what can laughingly be called the story. Taylor Lautner plays Nathan, a troubled teenager and possibly the biggest pollutant to the human gene pool since thalidomide. He starts off the movie in the stupidest “Lets show the world how wild and crazy I am” scene by riding on the windshield of a truck doing 75 mph on a country road. On the one hand I thought this scene even teenagers would think was dumb, but on the other hand I kind of liked it in that I could fantasize about a horrific accident that would end the movie quickly or leave Taylor remaking My Left Foot. Unfortunately I was not to be so blessed and he survives the trip to a wild party where everyone present is young, attractive, and white (except for the literal token black guy, who in a fit of originality takes on the role of helpful sidekick). They proceed to have more fun in one night than I had in all of high school and most of college, leaving Nathan passed out on the lawn shirtless.
I need to accelerate the pace of this. His dad picks him up, and it turns out he has been training Nathan in martial arts all his life as an excuse to beat his son without getting arrested. Nathan has to work with his super hot (and white) neighbor Karen (Lily Collins, who played the super cute young girl in Priest) to research missing children. While doing so they find a website that has his picture on it. Bad guys come to get him. Stuff gets blown up. On and on.
You know, rather than recap the whole story, I am going to actually talk about all the major plot holes I spotted. First of all, two bad guys (Russian free agents, the villain of choice) show up at his house like 10 minutes after he finds the site. They beat the hell out of and shoot his foster mother then father, but their goal is to kidnap Nathan to make his real father give up some kind of state secret. So what is the best way to capture someone alive? Obviously plant a huge freaking bomb in the oven and blow up the entire house. They also put it on a timer that, assuming they hadn’t just gotten a beating from Nathan, would have killed them as well. Also, the bomb was the size of a microwave, and the two guys showed up carrying nothing. Did they have the bomb clenched tightly between their butt cheeks? Come on.
Then there is the whole web site trap thing. It was stated that the trap was set over two years before the events of this film. The Russians are trying to get a list of double agents back from Nathans dad. Did he get the list two years ago and has been sitting on it ever since? If not why then are the setting traps?
So Nathans foster parent and his psychiatrist (Sigourney Weaver, of all people) are CIA operatives set in place in order to keep him safe in order for his dad to be free rampaging across the spy world (apparently he’s some kind of mayhem guy). Does a lifetime assignment for three highly trained people not seem like a massive waste of resources for one kid? Why not just stick him in a foster home and have someone call them every six months? Is Nathans dad so valuable? Who is he, James Bond? Also, he is supposedly off in the world doing spy stuff, but somehow manages to teleport to Pittsburgh in order to save Nathans life a the end. Doesn’t he have all kinds of other pressing business? Also, if this list is so valuable why did he leave it around the apartment he keeps as a hidey hole, hidden on a cell phone? Even if enemy agents didn’t find it, isn’t there the slightest chance that his apartment could be broken in to? No chance a thief would want to use an untracable phone for calling his drug dealer or anything.
So there is a CIA man named Burton (Alfred Molina-Raiders of the Lost Arc, Chocolat, Spider-Man 2) who, for no apparent reason, Nathan becomes suspicious of and decides spending his life on the lamb is better than trusting. Turns out his mysterious psychic powers were correct, as Burton was actually a double agent and his name was on that list. Why, then, if the list is missing and the Russians need to kidnap the kid in order to extort it back do they need to wait until Nathan contacts their website? Couldn’t Burton just called the head Russian and said “You can find him in this crappy town in Pennsylvania. If you time it right there is a good chance you can just pick him up passed out on the lawn of some dumb kegger.”?
So Nathans father shows up at the end in order to shoot the bad guy with a sniper rifle (I know I should have thrown in a spoiler alert there, but if you are seriously looking forward to seeing this movie and don’t want it to be spoiled than I couldn’t possible do or say anything to make you any stupider. Trust me, knowing the end of this film will not detract from whatever microscopic amount of enjoyment you can siphon off this beast). He and Nathan have a tear jerking (actually I was crying on the inside through most of this movie, so I don’t think the conversation was much of a contributor) heart to heart chat. However, dad still refuses to to meet the son he hasn’t seen in 14 years for absolutely no apparent reason. Can you at least try to pretend your characters are motivated by something, mediocre writer Shawn Christensen? Throw me a fricken bone here.
Anyway, the list goes on and on, but I have actual work to do tonight so I will cut it off there. Let’s get into the stars and black holes, shall we?
The stars. Sigourney Weaver is in the film for some reason. Remember when she was in cool movies like Alien? (Alien image from one of my many nerd t shirts) One star. Umm. The Russian bad guy was kind of cool (Michael Nyqvist). One star. Total: two stars.
The black holes. Taylor Lautner. One black hole. Plot holes your house could sink into. Three black holes. In addition to plot holes, the whole story makes no sense. One black hole. A movie called Abduction that does not feature even a whiff of actual abduction. Two black holes. None of the characters had any motivation do to anything whatsoever. One black holes. Nathan starts the movie as the dumbest teenager in American history and twenty minutes later is a super spy outsmarting guys with decades of experience. Also he is instantly an expert driver. One black hole. The writer may understand the definitions of the words “character” and “development” but can’t seem to contextualize the two of them together. One black hole. A movie featuring popular high school kids doing popular high school stuff instead of getting beat up by the marching band for playing D&D during lunchtime (I wasn’t cool enough to get beat up by the football team). One black hole. A million, billion cliche’s and stereotypes, including the only black character in the film being the helpful sidekick. One black hole. Dialog that made me wish for the restful sound of fingernails on a blackboard. One black hole. Total: thirteen black holes.
So a grand total of eleven black holes. Do not see this film. More importantly, do not let your children see this film. Not that it has any bad content. It rests firmly in the PG-13 trench. Just that we don’t need to encourage this sort of thing on any level, and honestly your kids will be stupider for having seen this film.
Anyway, I am trying to decide if there is enough insulin in the world to deal with the avalanche of sweetness that will wash over me when I see Dolphin Tale. Some decent stuff coming out this weekend, including 50/50, a movie I am eager to see after listening to an interview with Seth Rogan on the Howard Stern Show. Follow me on Twitter @NerdKungFu.com. Talk to you all later.