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Hereís a movie that needs two different reviews; one for the audience itís meant for and one for everybody else.  Anyone who walks into Abduction expecting anything other juicy grist for the screaming Twi-hards who elevated actor Taylor Lautner into the Hollywood stratosphere is one deluded individual.  Oddly enough, those who arenít brought to hyperventilation by the good-looking nineteen-year-old star will find Abduction strangely entertaining, but not for the reasons one might expect.

Nathan has lived a perfectly normal teenage life in his rural hometown of Forks, Washington -- I mean, Pennsylvania.  When not thrillseeking with his best pals, Nathan isnít averse to a spot of underage drinking at house parties and is silently in awe of the girl next door.  A class project brings an unexpected discovery which unwinds Nathanís close family ties and turns them into a web of deceit and intrigue with all sorts of international political gravitas.  Turns out Nathan is the biological son of a highly prized US operative, whoís basically fostered the kid out to other agents who protected and trained him to be a chip off the CIAís shoulder.  Some Russian bad guys want to get a hold of the kid as a hostage in order to retrieve a list that might reveal the ill-doings of some American double agents.  As reality literally comes crashing through his door, Nathanís life is destroyed and he has no clue who he is or who to trust.  He also has the care of that girl next door who inadvertently gets caught up in the party.  So, with bullets flying everywhere and villains around every corner, the boy must seek the truth and save himself and his potential new girlfriend.

For the Lautner fans, this is so the film youíve been waiting for.  There are at least two gratuitous shirtless Lautner scenes and I lost track of how many time the camera stalls on his steely-eyed pout.  As the most implausible fifteen-year-old since the original 90210, Lautner sells the action better than expected; his apparent love of martial arts and athleticism on display here.  He even makes with the kissy-face with our damsel-in-distress, but not too much because that would anger the fanbase.

For everyone else watching, this is an action film full of holes, impossibilities, and dialog written by a sixth grader that doesnít get out much, and therein is most of your entertainment.  The amazing coincidences all over the film are a scream: After hurling themselves from a moving car and falling down a steep ravine, the hunted teen couple momentarily trudge along a highway and manage to find passage straight through to Virginia Ė hundreds of miles away Ė thanks to the first truck that happens along, which, lucky for our heroes, is hitch-hiker friendly.  Once in Virginia, they not only easily find the flat of Nathanís real dad, who must be the most careless spy on the planet leaving free access to all sorts of goodies like cash, weapons, an amazingly well-fitted change of wardrobe for Nathan, including a Teen Beat-perfect distressed leather jacket, and of course a shiny, new BMW for anyone to use.  Iím sure some of the comedy was meant to be intentional, but itís really hard to figure out which as one busts out laughing at the moronic lines that couldnít be said by even the most skillful thespian -- or Taylor Lautner.  Heís certainly not a bad-looking kid, has an amiable if slight presence and as I mentioned, can pull off the action, which occasionally features explosions of Bruckheimerian firepower, but he might consider spending a little of his post-teen years under the tutelage of a good acting coach.  Still, I donít know any Oscar-winner that could convincingly deliver a line like, ďThereís a bomb in the oven!Ē  As if to make up for both the scriptís and the starís shortcomings, Abduction boasts one of the yearís most unlikely casts, including Sigourney Weaver as another one of Nathanís possible protectors, who teaches him the art of camouflage by balloon.  Alfred Molina is practically swimming in inky black hair dye as a CIA man and one of the few people that knows Nathanís true identity.  Maria Bello shows some surprising chop socky chops as Nathanís ninja mom.  As a true advocate of tough love, Jason Isaacs - or Luscious Malfoy, as heís known round this site - brings some Brotherhood attitude as Nathanís father and apparent trainer for a career in UFC.  Michael Nyqvist of the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo plays our bad guy, who, like all mobsters from the former Soviet Union, has bad skin and hangs around with a bunch of guys from Brooklynís Brighton Beach who sport all sorts of Cyrillic skin art.  Damn you, Eastern Promises!  He gets one of the few lines that actually hits its mark, when his character threatens Nathan by telling him heíll ďbe responsible for the death of every friend you have on Facebook.Ē Young Lily Collins shows off the most bodacious brows since Brooke Shields as Nathanís squeeze-to-be (is she part werewolf?), but doesnít exactly get to stretch any acting skills.  However, judging from that aforementioned smooch scene, she better start learning some kung fu skills once Lautnerís fans see this.

Abduction is bad, but itís just too campily bad to dislike completely.  The earnestness on the part of its younger cast is impossible to fully hate no matter how clear it is that the more accomplished actors and director, John Singleton, are just there to pick up a check.  I wouldnít be surprised to see Taylor Lautnerís fans propel this movie into a weekend success, but for those not in the fan club or forced to accompany said fan, just enjoy the sporadic action sequences and unintentional laughs.

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva

September 23rd, 2011

 

 

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Photos

(Courtesy of  Lionsgate)

 

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