Abduction (2011)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Sep 23, 2011 (USA)  |   Run Time - 106 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Abduction is exactly what you'd expect from a suspense thriller built around a teen heartthrob. Baby-faced Taylor Lautner garnered legions of tween fans with his turn as a buff, shirtless werewolf in the Twilight movies, so clearly the studios have good reason to cast him in anything and everything they can while his pubescent star is still burning bright -- thus, he plays the central role in this John Singleton-directed action flick about a high-school wrestler on the run from various hit men, secret agents, and spies. Is Lautner's combination of quick-cut fight choreography and sensitive-guy tears enough to satisfy his existing fanbase? Most definitely. Is this movie worth seeing if you're not 15 and into sparkly vampires? Absolutely not.

Lautner's character is a 17-year-old named Nathan. Nathan is full of piss and vinegar. For fun, he plays masthead on the hood of his friend's truck, and when he gets drunk at a party, his dad makes him spar with focus mitts by the pool while hung over, as punishment for getting too wasted to defend himself (spoiler alert: Nathan will probably soon have foes to defend himself against). He's just your average guy with inexplicable rage problems and a secret crush on the cute girl across the street, his childhood friend Karen (Lily Collins). Then one day, he finds a picture of himself on a website of missing children, and his mom admits that he has a secret past. But before she can explain further, nefarious gun-toting men break in and murder the people Nathan thought were his parents, and he finds himself on the run, bringing Karen along because she's "already seen too much."

What follows is mostly predictable and dull, despite heavies rounding out the supporting cast like Alfred Molina, Maria Bello, Jason Isaacs, and Sigourney Weaver. But, of course, at least part of what makes the movie so uninteresting as a thriller is what makes it work as a vehicle for a Tiger Beat leading boy. It's full of sappy dialogue and lingering shots of hand-holding and post-rescue hugs. The plot is like the background any Harlequin romance is set against -- it's not very complex, because the story isn't really the point. The point is to provide any viewers who might want to gush over Lautner with ample opportunity to do so. And in that way, even a movie as unimpressive as Abduction is a categorical success.