With John Singleton’s Abduction, we get one of those movies that attempts to transition a tween sensation — in this case, Twilight series star Taylor Lautner — into the world of grown-up movies. It’s a tricky situation that’s quite useful in separating the wheat from the chaff, since the movies we get are usually good indications of where these kids will end up in the spectrum of Hollywood superstars. We’ve already seen, for instance, Lautner’s fellow Twilight conspirator and fellow Tiger Beat centerfold Robert Pattinson bomb a couple of times in more serious-minded fare. I appreciate that the musclebound Lautner and his braintrust decided to forego the heavy dramatics that Pattinson has attempted to brood his way through, instead going for full-on action star. The results, however, are right in line with Lautner’s talent level, since the film we end up with is one big, steaming pile of dumb. Lautner plays Nathan, a hunky, socially awkward teen who, after stumbling onto a missing kids website, begins to think his parents (Maria Bello and Jason Isaacs) might not be his birth parents. He turns out to be right, of course, since his real parents were not only CIA agents, but CIA agents with enemies who soon want Nathan dead. So Nate must go on the lam, hiding out from nefarious Serbians and duplicitous government agents. This bargain basement thriller might have worked as goofy entertainment if it weren’t for Lautner, who lacks any kind of leading-man qualities. He oozes dopiness like someone bore a hole in him to let it run out, while he has the onscreen charisma of a lawn chair.
Director: John Singleton
Writer: Shawn Christensen and Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Producer: Doug Davison, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Dan Lautner, Roy Lee and Lee Stollman
Cast: Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Sigourney Weaver, Jason Isaacs, Maria Bello, Michael Nyqvist, Antonique Smith, Denzel Whitaker and Nickola Shreli