Rating: 3 of 5
Saw Abduction tonight and think several things but they’re conflicting so it’s kind of hard to make sense of.
This was completely a Taylor Lautner vehicle. Which is ok. After doing Twilight I can understand him wanting to come out of the gate establishing himself as a leading man and an action guy and he certainly is fantastic with stunts.
But he’s not quite ready to carry a movie yet.
He’s absolutely the best thing in the film.
But that doesn’t mean he can carry a movie.
There’s not another actor his age who could do that role. And I like that there was some substance to it. It felt more like a Matt Damon or Jake Gyllenhaal action movie than a Jason Statham or Vin Diesal movie (maybe it was the train).
That still doesn’t mean he can carry a movie.
So, the overall impression is that he’s capable of this, but not quite ready for it.
And it wasn’t a bad movie, but it could have been much better if Taylor was a little bit more of a man than a boy. Which isn’t his fault; growing up is a process and he’s not doing it badly at all. I almost feel like a part of the fault lies with the director or writer (in one of those ways where it’s hard to define exactly who decided what without having been in the midst of production). Because some scenes worked great with the juxtaposition of badass but still a kid (like the fight scene with his dad after the party). But everything after everything changed had that sense of him not quite fitting into the movie given to him. If you can’t change how old Taylor is, you need to change the script to accommodate that to fit him.
The plot wasn’t bad considering that it’s an action film so the only thing it really needs to be is cohesive. There were two small holes in the logic, but all the characters turned a blind eye to them and I’ve seen worse. Also, the script was a little weak with a few too many cheesy lines that weren’t helped by the director at all.
The characters also aren’t bad for an action film where you don’t expect a lot of development. There were a few quiet, character building moments here and there which helped strengthen the core relationships. But it’s hard to have good characters with weak performances.
I wasn’t impressed by Lily Collins at all. I realize she’s Hollywood’s new it girl for her age, and I haven’t seen her in anything else to make a fair comparison (and I have to give her some credit because Scott Charles Stewart is impressed with her). Pretty much none of the performances in Abduction were great and it seemed to have a tone that indicated the director was largely to blame for that. So, I can’t honestly say Lily Collins is a bad actress and that’s why she didn’t work. I can say she didn’t have hardly any chemistry with Taylor so that role could have been cast better.
Jason Isaacs was the only one who I would say gave a good performance. It was interesting to see him in a different sort of role, bad ass but not evil with a warmth and sense of fun. I just think he’s a great actor.
Taylor Lautner wasn’t awful, but he wasn’t great either. There’s something about him, though, that I feel he has potential. I’d like to see him work with a really good director to find out what he’s capable of. But he’s not good enough yet to overcome a weak script and an over the top director. His stunts were incredible, though. That’s the thing that keeps making me like this movie, Taylor can kick ass and you could see he did almost all of it himself.
I didn’t like much about the direction at all. First, there were the shoddy performances, which again felt like a result of a tone John Singleton was going for that rang hollow. Secondly, there were shots that were really over the top, trying to make Taylor seem all large and important that were too obvious to be effective. Instead of encouraging the viewer to take Taylor more seriously, they almost made the moment laughable.
The production values were pretty spot on, except for maybe the music which I didn’t love. I wanted something with a little bit more of a rock edge and less of an alternative vibe. But I’m also not the core demographic and maybe that’s what they’re listening to these days.