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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Oh, Taylor Lautner. He really isn’t that bad of an actor. He is good looking, likeable, and watchable enough. He’s no DeNiro, obviously, but he’s good enough to where he can helm a film and make a decent career for himself post-Twilight. He just needs to pick better projects. The 2011 John Singleton film Abduction is not that.
It is really, really bad. I wasn’t expecting it to be great. When I started to stream it from Netflix, I figured I’d at least be entertained by a B-level action film. It is not even that. The story and character actions are so nonsensical that I can’t believe that actors such as Alfred Molina and Sigourney Weaver were willing to sign on to such a turkey. Maybe it was a decent paycheck. Who knows?
In Abduction, Lautner plays a teen who discovers himself on a missing persons website. Though a series of events, he discovers that his parents are not his parents and that he is the son of a CIA agent who years earlier stole a list of corrupted CIA agents from some terrorist. Now, the terrorist learns of Lautner and plans to kidnap him so dad will return the list. Lautner then has to keep a step ahead of the terrorists and the CIA in order to save himself. Oh, he also has his would-be girlfriend in tow for inexplicable reasons.
This story makes absolutely no sense. The father has a list of the corrupted agents for, presumably, years. Why didn’t he turn this over to the CIA when he first got it? Why does the terrorist want this list back so badly? Why was Lautner put in a CIA-sponsored foster home to begin with? None of this makes any sense! The movie even runs with the assumption that because Lautner’s dad was the best of the best CIA agent, then, obviously, Lautner is also going to be like that. As far as I know, genetics generally doesn’t work like that.
Also, if Lautner was living with foster parents for 18 years, how come he didn’t realize this considering that he looks nothing like his parents? Maybe you could get away with that with another actor, but when you have Taylor Lautner (who comes from such a unique ethnic background) and two very Anglo-looking parents, wouldn’t that raise an eyebrow? I know. I know. I’m nitpicking. Maybe if the movie was better…
All that said, Singleton’s direction is fairly slick. His action sequences are solid and Lautner does have a flair for action. Him sticking to that genre might be a good choice.
This was a bad film. Laughably bad. It isn’t outright horrid as its watchable, but it almost feels like a parody of this type of teen thriller. Lautner is better than this, and if he really wants to pull in some non-Twilight success and/or acclaim like his co-stars have, he really needs to look over what scripts he is given. I know he can do it. I do!
Unfortunately, that doesn’t look like that will be the case yet. Besides a cameo role in Grown Ups 2, Lautner hasn’t appeared in a non-Twilight film since Abudction. And the next movie he is going to headline is a Premium Rush knock-off with five credited writers attached to it. Sigh. A world without Taylor Lautner is not a world I want to live in.