‘Abduction’ Review

Published 3 years ago by

Taylor Lautner Abduction Review Abduction Review

Screen Rant’s Ben Kendrick reviews Abduction

A lot of moviegoers tend to associate director John Singleton with hard hitting dramas that, more often than not, have focused on controversial topics including socio-economic inequality and racial tensions – so, no doubt, it came as a surprise when the famed filmmaker chose to shoot a film starring Taylor Lautner. Abduction had been sold to Lionsgate with the Twilight heart-throb already attached – with the intention of testing the young star’s leading-man mettle as well as capturing his Twi-hard fan base.

Singleton is confident in the final cut of Abduction and is already talking up a sequel. However, will audiences be as impressed with the action thriller, and Lautner’s headlining performance, or is the movie just an attempt by Hollywood executives to cash in on big names – without having to deliver a competent piece of entertainment?

Unfortunately Abduction is nothing more than a middle-of-the-road action-thriller that will only be satisfying to teenage fans of Lautner or less picky audiences who can suspend enough disbelief to take anything portrayed onscreen seriously: be it the overly-melodramatic relationships, predictable “twists,” or the paper thin storyline. Essentially, anyone who has viewed the Abduction trailer has already been exposed to 3/4′s of the overarching plot – and, as a result, there are very few surprises, or exciting moments, to make a trip to the theater worth the cost of admission.

Taylor Lautner Lily Collins Abduction Abduction Review

Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins on the run in Abduction

As mentioned, despite allusions to the contrary in the film’s marketing, the Abduction story is pretty basic: Nathan Price (Taylor Lautner) is a high school kid who feels out of place (like most high school kids). However, after Price and his neighbor, Karen Lowell (Lily Collins), find a childhood picture of him (as well as a computer-rendered image of what he would look like now) on a missing person’s website, the teenager is thrown into a massive government conspiracy – and, subsequently, a run-for-your-life adventure. Hot on his heels are a variety of mysterious people – such as Frank Burton (Alfred Molina) and Dr. Bennett (Sigourney Weaver) to name a few – all with hazy motivations. In order to stop running, and get back to a “normal” life, Price is forced into a series of dangerous altercations in a desperate attempt to uncover the truth about his past.

Throughout the runtime, Abduction appears to fancy itself much smarter than what actually plays out onscreen would indicate. This is a film that takes itself very seriously – with very few comedic moments and a few pretty brutal altercations (especially considering the film’s PG-13 rating). As a result, the movie is a mishmash of “moments” that the filmmakers must have felt were important for “telling” Price’s character arc – robbing the proceedings of credibility as each of these isolated moments undermine prior scenes and don’t successfully build upon each other.

For example (being as vague as possible), there’s a character that is identified early on in the film as someone Price can trust and, when things get out of hand, he and Lowell decide to head across the country to rendezvous with said person – until they hit a bump in the road and the plot line is completely derailed (and the aforementioned character vanishes from the story, never to be mentioned again). This might sound like a minor thing but if you were to chart the actual movement of the characters in Abduction, you’d quickly discover that there’s a significant amount of “filler” – Price and Co. backtracking ground and retreading story ideas. The film lacks a real narrative drive and, for a story about people on the run, most of the characters are just wandering in circles – which, given a predictable and awkward plot, is especially boring to watch.

Taylor Lautner Denzel Whitaker Abduction Abduction Review

Taylor Lautner and Denzel Whitaker in Abduction

As mentioned, Lautner has been attached to Abduction for a long time – with studio heads no doubt testing his leading man muscle. Surely, Lautner handles himself well in some of the more physical moments of the film – he appears to have done a lot of his own running, jumping, and fighting – but falls entirely flat in intimate character moments. Despite a truly horrendous set of circumstances that occur in the first act of the movie, Price does very little but lower his eyebrows and pace around. It’s unfortunate because, watching Abduction, it’s easy to imagine Lautner (with a few more years under his belt) able to succeed in the same market Sam Worthington has been culling over the last few years – relying on physical/strong but silent type roles. However, Hollywood (in a mad rush to capitalize on the young actor’s Twilight profile) has pushed him out the gate too soon – and undercut his chances of headlining another character-focused action thriller for awhile.

The rest of the cast is serviceable but bland. Alfred Molina and Sigourney Weaver are completely wasted (and have some of the worst lines that either actor has likely ever delivered). Ultimately, these characters are reduced to outlines who, as the story progresses, could have added a lot to the proceedings – if they had been given more to work with. Lilly Collins actually offers the most compelling performance in the movie – even elevating some of the scenes where Lautner isn’t particularly convincing – as Price drags her character from one messed up scenario on to another. She’s a competent addition and about the only cast member who seemed to know that the film wasn’t going to get by on plot, melodrama, and Lautner’s name alone.

In the end, there’s very little to celebrate in Abduction. Aside from a few of the more physical moments in movie, the story is generic and cliche’, the characters are one dimensional shells with little to do but run from place to place, and the performances are stilted at best and, more often than not, completely cheesy. Fans of Taylor Lautner will likely be satisfied by seeing the actor try on his leading man chops as well as enjoy the five separate occasions where the Twilight star takes off his shirt but, for fans of worthwhile trips to the theater, Abduction is hard to recommend.

If you’re still on the fence about Abduction, check out the trailer below:

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Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick - and let us know what you thought of the film below:

Abduction is now in theaters.

Our Rating:

1.5 out of 5
(Poor, A Few Good Parts)

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55 Comments

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  1. This movie has crap written all over it. Didn’t these producers see Lautner’s “acting” in the Twilight mess? Looks like this will win the great Razzie Award.

    • Completely agree with you.
      I hate Twilight and all his stars Except Dakota Fanning.

      Hope Launter will get his Razzie award

  2. Taylor, please stick to Twilight

  3. Taylor sounds like a three year old girl. Not very menacing.
    I mean HOW did he even get this role?

    • Because he has the body and moves… one word for him “FIT!” x

  4. This review did not surprise me at all.

  5. Don’t forget his masterful acting in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl (He was Sharkboy, in a role that bites)

    • That was him? Sharkboy and Lavagirl was my first 3D film, and I took my boys with me. I liked the 3D but the movie was garbage. So far, everything this guy has been in I have hated.

  6. i am looking forward to seeing this taylor deserves a role like this to prove that he isnt for some teengirl movie sigh of relife (i hate twilight with a passion of hatred) and i am seeing this next week on the 28th and looking forward to it!

  7. Taylor can’t act. Period. He is just a hunk of meat that girl’s are drooling over. He is worse than any other action actor to come before him. He make Stallone look like a genius and he makes Keanu Reeves look like he could pull off Hamlet.

    People need to look at this guy and see that his facial expressions vary about three millimeters from one another.

    Get over the shirtless werewolf and let this bum go and do what he does best.

    Dance for Chippendales.

  8. This has some actors in it I really like, but when I saw the trailer and every line spouted by Lautner was a bad action movie cliche, it was all over from my point of view.

  9. My sympathies to you, Ben, for having to review this dreck.

    • Thanks for the kind words. It comes with the territory ;)

  10. I just want to know who rated this a 5 star film….

    • That’s kind of obvious. All of the fangirls who watch Twilight. A lot of the girls I know love Taylor Lautner no matter what he is in, even if the movie is beyond terrible.

      • A lot of the girls I know love Taylor Lautner no matter what he is in, even if the movie is beyond terrible

        As in every movie he has been in? :-D

  11. I will admit that I thought the movie looked pretty cool. The stunts looked well done and the concept was normal for the story and I liked the idea of it involving a high schooler since when I was in high school I was always expecting the school to be taken over by the Russians or a Cuban trying to have his father freed from prison (ala Toy Soldiers); but then I heard Taylor speak…and then it just sounded stupid.

  12. I went and saw this movie yesterday (9/22). It was bad, really bad. Taylor was posing the whole movie, Lily was a pointless character and spit out the most stupid lines. I wanted to go and show support for Taylor but I just want to duck-n-hide and never mention again that I saw it. I do think Taylor could be an a good action star but he needs ALOT MORE training and acting skills.

    It was a wasted $30 in ticket/drink/popcorn.

  13. I forgot to mention that this movie must have been sponsored by Apple. There was so many Apple products in this movie I thought I was at their website. This movie was a commercial pretty much.

    • @FreezeBurn_TwilightGirl

      And perhaps BMW too. Man, I’d like to get behind the wheel of that BMW Lautner drove!

  14. I truly believe all these negative reviews are off people hating on Taylor Lautner. Just because hes so famous and adored by women. It’s like everyone hating on Megan Fox. Whenever someone famous is gorgeous they can’t be talented. This movie is not intended for old people or people who look for every little flaw in a movie. It’s targeted towards a teen to young adult fan base, which I’m sure will enjoy the film. As for Twilight, its a worldwide phenomenon and a great book series. I’ve read them all and its a VERY good book and even movie series. But of course when something is so popular it gets hated on just as much. Like really? No one makes you watch a movie, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it. This story line kind of reminds me of action/thriller movies I’ve seen before but it’s not like I was expecting the greatest action movie ever, just something that was worth watching. Which it was. I thought Lautner (and this is coming from a 19 year old grown man NOT a teenage girl) did a good job. I found his character interesting, as well as the movies concept. The movie is not great but certainly good. I really think Lautner did a great job because he portrayed his character so well. His character is someone who realizes his whole life has been a lie and he watches (who hes known) as his parents get killed but as the lady in the car said he didn’t have time to grieve. That came off very well portrayed by him. He looked as though he was struggling with grieving and fulfilling what he needs to do to get the answers he wants to know and protect Karen at the same time. He might take a step backward at the box office (until the new twilight films come out) but he took a huge step forward as an actor. I found him convincing, if not compelling, but saw major improvement in his acting. I wasn’t that big of a Taylor Lautner fan before but I am a fan now. I know hes gonna get a lot of lead roles and star in many successful films but this is where it truly started. As for the one person he thought he could trust his psychiatrist I thought it was good they left her out because it left me to wonder if she died or was still alive. Anyway, I’m definitely looking forward to his future endeavors. Overall I give the movie a B or B-. Taylor Lautner a B+.

    • Believe what you like, Tony, but that’s not the case – at least not here.

      Vic

      • The movie was okay!I give him credit! Heck i bet he does 1 million times better then you will ever do!

        • That is why we are not actors, but we expect people who get cast in these movies to do at least a million times better than your average guy in a high school play. I bet the doctor who botched Tori Spellings chest is a better medical doctor than I will ever be, seeing that I have never been to medical school or anything, but do you think he should be recommended as being the best ever plastic surgeon.

    • this 19 year old grown man certainly comes across as a teenage girl right here

    • leo dicapprio – talented actor, good looking, christian bale – talented actor, good looking, johnny depp – talented actor/good looking, Scarlett Johansson – talented actress/ very good looking, emma stone – talented actress/ very good looking, ellen page – talented actress/ very good looking, i can keep going, doesn’t matter what people look like, they just have to be competent actors/actress’s

      • I’m right with you on that one you hit the nail on the coffin. The guy needs to do more secondary character roles for a couple of years so he can grow his acting abilities or I wouldn’t hurt to actually take acting lessons. You either have talent or don’t its not about hating on anybody. I can dress like a rockstar but doesn’t mean I will be pwning like Mike Jagger or do moves like David Lee Roth.

      • Scarlett Johansson is the definition of UNtalented but good looking.

    • Tony – as others have mentioned, and as I discuss in the review (did you even read it?), I think Lautner could step-up with more practice into a leading man role but he was too young and too inexperienced to hold this film together. It’s unfortunate because I can see him, with more practice and experience, leading a good action film – but this isn’t that film.

      It’s unfair to dismiss our review simply because it didn’t celebrate Lautner’s performance. The criticism of Lautner was 1 paragraph in a 10 paragraph review. It was hardly the main focus of the review (or the biggest problem with the film).

      Plus, I already addressed what you mentioned about it not being for people who look at every flaw – “Fans of Taylor Lautner will likely be satisfied by seeing the actor try on his leading man chops.” Technically, we recommended the film to the exact demographic you’re saying will enjoy it – it’s everyone else (the other 4/5 of the movie going population) that we recommend skip the film.

      That said, I’m glad you enjoyed it. No member of the Screen Rant team hopes people hate a movie just to corroborate our opinions.

    • If you like Taylor pouting alot. This movie definitely for you. Also i don’t think 19 yrs old to be considered grown man. Not even allowed (under law) to have a beer yet. Teen definitely, and this movie is well within that demographic. So if you like this movie (or Twilight for that matter). It’s good for you.
      Unfortunately, the majority has spoke (me included), we don’t like this movie. It’s like a glorified B-action movie.

    • Twilight IS a worldwide phenomenon, it is however NOT a great book series. It is poorly written pulp for teenage girls, with just the hint of an interesting new take on Vampire/Werewolf Mythos.

      I can respect Meyers for trying something slightly new, but she cannot write, I have never read a book with more grammatical errors, and awkward, high school level writing. I had to stop for frustration half-way through the first book.

      I am not a teenage girl though, so to be fair the series isn’t pointed at me.

    • You, sir, are an idiot.

    • I don’t hate anyone thats involved in making these terrible movies (music, literature, and television as well). I hate the fans that keep this garbage going. This evolution of entertainment has nothing to do with quality.

    • Megan Fox, Really.

    • Man-crush much, Tony. Only a true crush will give that a B+. Megan Fox, REALLY.

    • tONY i TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU! EVERYONE HATES ON THIS YOUNG MAN AND I DO BELIEVE IT IS BECAUSE OF LOOKS AND GIRLS AND WOMEN ADORE HIM! HE CAN ACT! I BELIEVE HE HAS A COUPLE OF MOVIES HE WILL STAR IN SOON AND I BELIEVE HE WILL GET BETTER AND BETTER. LIKE THE REST OF THEM…

  15. @Tony, do you have a man-crush on the guy?? geez man, sounds like you dont know good movies.

  16. the trailer looked very promising, i really don’t understand all the hate for lautner, he is obviously not a good actor, yes, but the rest of the cast seemed pretty okay.

    maybe i just have to watch it to see for myself.

  17. Yeah Bourne JR. didnt look good to begin with, but excellent trailer music.

    Though I hate hate HATE Twilight so I do give this kid a hard time.

  18. Wow I seem like a teenage girl cause I enjoyed a movie? Don’t make me laugh. As for what Aiden said you have got to be joking. All of those actors besides Emma Stone are OLD. Quit living in the past. Johnny Depp is the definition of a great actor. Lenardio Dicaprio is legendary for his Titanic film. Christian Bale is a great actor as well my personal favorite outside Will Smith, even though he really hasn’t done anything the last couple years. I have nothing negative to say about those actors you named except Scarlett Johansson and Emma Stone. Emma Stone is the most generic and not to mention not good looking actress I’ve ever seen so famous. Scarlett is beautiful but talented? Not so much. And comparing a 19 year old man to a 40+ year old man is no comparison. So don’t compare old people when it comes to a young argument. Anyone who is young and gorgeous is perceived as untalented. As for the rest that was said I was commenting about other things I’ve read not just your review. Twilight isnt a good book series? Your joking, there’s probably a billion people who would disagree with you. Do you think that’s w/o reason? Its a sad thing when one person thinks there opinion matters more than everyone else’s.

    • Emma Stone and Scarlett Johansson are good actors and there is nothing wrong with Emma’s looks. There are plenty of good looking and talented young actors around i.e. Dekota Fanning, but Lautner is not it. Sorry, but the boy is rather bland. Will Smith was not always 40 and he was a better actor then Taylor even way back when. The only action movies I truly loved were the ones with the mentioned over 40s and Wanted with James McAvoy, being the number one favourite.

    • Angelina Jolie, ever heard of her. I think she won I few awards and she is not bad looking either or so I’ve heard.

  19. Somebody should tell Hollyweird that lots of running and yelling does not constitute a plot. Even when it involves pretty people making serious faces.
    Seriously, if this is a joke, it isn’t funny anymore. Apparently Tinsel Town is in a recession for talent.

  20. What I find more intresting than anything is that most of the negative comments are from people who havent seen the movie. How is that right?

    • I totally agree

  21. In that theory, do I have to sleep with a disease-ridden crack whore to know that it is not going to turn out good?

    Somethings you can just look at and know that it’s awful.

  22. I took my 77 year old dad to see this movie not expecting much and believe it or not we actually enjoyed it. It kept us both interested. I wouldn’t say it was the most flashy or awesome movie ever made but what do you expect? It was good for what it was and entertained us for a couple hours. All in all a fine job by all and if you go see it then just relax and don’t pick it apart and be critical, just try to enjoy it, and maybe you will..?

  23. It was okay. It lacked more fight scenes showing off Taylor’s significant karate skills; he was a junior American or World champion if I remember correctly. Hey, Ebert hated Spiderman and Star Wars had its critics so I don’t put too much stock in reviews.

  24. I saw this movie and it was TERRIBLE I am a big Lautner fan but the movie itself was pathetic. It was very obviously fake in all parts and it was very predictable. Don’t waste your time going to see it.

  25. I saw Abduction the first week it was out. Granted, the movie wasn’t all that I had hoped it would be, but its not the worst thing I have ever seen either. Taylor Lautner is no Tom Cruise, but he’s young and this was his first leading movie. I feel with experience and more training, he will evolve into a good action star. Time will tell. :)

  26. I nearly talked myself into going to see this, on a slow Holiday Monday. But when I got to the theater, I saw that 50/50 was starting in 20 minutes; decisions decisions: JGL or Taylor Lautner? No contest; JGL for the win. :-D

    And why do I keep calling him Jason Gordon-Levitt, and not Joseph?

  27. This was one of the worste movies I have ever seen. Terrible acting, horrible plot line, poor directing (not the directors fault given what he had to work with). You are delusional if you think Taylor Lautner will ever be a convincing lead star in anything worth watching. Sadly, this movie is not one of them. Do not rent, borrow, download this movie – trust me. I laughed several times… Yet… There are NO intentional funny moments. Enough said.

    Tony… There is no way you were being serious and I applaud your sarcastic humor. Noone in their right mind could type what you wrote with a straight face. :)

  28. Good job Taylor! They are jealous!

  29. Well I am in a much older fan base. I love the twilight series all of them. And believe me not all characters are great actors! But fortunately they are all young and have many years to brush up on their skills! They show promise and that is all that needs to be said. If any of u people griping could do any better.., lets see it! I am sure that whatever your endeavors are in life you may find it is not quite as easy as you think! Looks are great! Skills even better but to be able to have both and try to please a world full of idiots seems to be a real challenge! Good luck Taylor some of us are pulling for you!