Abduction: Who stole John Singleton?

Abduction – 2011

Directed by John Singleton
Starring
Taylor Lautner, Sigourney Weaver, Lily Collins, Jason Isaacs, Alfred Molina, Maria Bello, Michael Nygvist
Written by
Shawn Christensen

The story for many in this film had to do with Lautner and his prospects outside of the Twilight series.  In the grand scheme of things, we can call his performance a success, if your standard unit of measurement is the acting of, say, Chris Klein of the American Pie series.  He is definitely likable, until you have him recite lines with varying emotions.  He seems comfortable in front of the camera, mainly in that way that all young handsome and well-built men enjoy the idea of preening.

The rest of the cast, in spite of pedigree, is out of sorts.  I have rarely seen Weaver so ineffective, and Bello, Isaacs and Molina are boring as well.  Everyone in the film is taking their cue from the lead, and he is not leading material.  It’s awkward when a bunch of adults give respect to someone considerably younger and less experienced than themselves.

How did this happen?  What could lead the acclaimed director of Boyz n The Hood,  and even the great remake of Shaft,  to direct of what amounts to a PG-13 Disney film?  This film is so sanitized, it feels like it’s wrapped in saran.  The best work of John Singleton has always exhibited a sense of reality.  Abduction gives one the feeling that there is no way the protagonist is in danger.  He just has to wrestle with brutes occasionally.

There is almost nothing to remember about Abduction, despite its intriguing premise.  That a kid could, in a sociology experiment, find that he the subject of a lost child investigation.  From here, his family is attacked by bad guys, touching off a series of events that is interesting in no particular way.  Weaver is his psychologist at first, and then some sort of covert agent who begins to support Lautner’s Nathan / Stephen and then, for no real reason at all, disappears.

Michael Nyqvist is almost completely useless in his role as the villain.  As interesting as he was in Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol , he is marginalized to a series of grunts and threats.  What a poor way to treat the best bad guy since Alan Rickman.

If you are the parents of an 8-year-old, and you want to give the kid a chance to see some harmless action, skip this one.  Rent National Treasure instead.

(*)

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