Film: 'Abduction'; Cast: Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Alfred Molina; Director: John Singleton; Rating: **
There has always been room for a 'Jason Bourne' type spy film revolving around a teenager. This year has so far seen two such attempts. The first, successful attempt was 'Hanna' and now comes 'Abduction', which sadly fails the litmus test.
Nathan (Taylor Lautner) has always felt uneasy with his existence. His suspicion of not living his own life is confirmed when he stumbles upon an image of himself as a young boy on a missing persons site. As he initiates a search for himself, things take a turn for worse as his parents are killed, and he is on the run - both from the CIA and a mysterious Russian operative out to get him. Paired by fate with his girlfriend, he must do everything to survive.
At the face of it, it does sound like a decent premise for an action film. And it is. However, what pulls down the movie is extremely cliched screenplay, non-existent acting from its lead and topped up with not-so-explosive action sequences that don't give the audience something to remember after leaving the cinema hall.
And the worst problem for the film is Taylor Lautner's stony face. As we saw in the last 'Twilight' film, he has worked hard to get a good physique. But one only wishes his acting skills too were as evolved as his muscles.
In a film like this that plays on the anguish of the protagonist, acting abilities - no matter how small - do matter!
Secondly, there isn't one remotely interesting fight sequence. No cars crash dangerously close to a key character, no bullets fly inches away from the protagonist and neither is he ever in too much danger to scare the viewers. Opportunities for creating tension are missed by sloppy writing and direction. Worse still, Alfred Molina and Susan Sarandon are wasted in the film.
There isn't even an original line or a remotely cute gesture from the kids to make audiences swoon at them. And that is sad because John Singleton's last cinematic outing 'Four Brothers' had so much more action, emotion, drama and chutzpah that it makes you wonder what has gone wrong with him.
It is obvious that the producers wanted to make another teen action franchise, a marriage between Jason Bourne and James Bond with 'Twilight' like angst put in for good measure. Sadly, it seems like this film has indeed seen the 'twilight', right at its sunrise.