Film Review: Abduction

As an action thriller, Abduction sits at the cheesy end of the scale. Notwithstanding, John Singleton’s film is still an enjoyable enough ride.

Nathan is a regular teenager attending high school, who has a crush on his neighbour. When searching online for a school project, Nathan discovers his picture on a website for missing children. He confronts his mother about it, but there is a knock on the door before she is able to provide any details…

Abduction focuses on a fascinating concept; discovering your parents are not who they say they are. Rather focusing on the enormity of this revelation, the film is a faced-paced action thriller. John Singleton deftly directs the film’s action sequences. They are often frenetic, and work well to engage the audience.

The plot of Abduction borders on fantastic, and occasionally leaps over this line. Viewers are required to suspend their disbelief for the twists that ensue. This is not necessarily a bad thing; the silliness is rather enjoyable. Nonetheless, those with a healthy dose of scepticism may find the film tiring.

Where the film descends into a cheese-fest is in its dialogue. There is a palpable corniness to the film, particularly the budding relationship between Nathan and Karen. Even in other aspects of the film, the cheesiness breaks through. The flashback sequences late in the film are hard to take seriously.

Abduction sometimes comes across as a children’s television show masquerading as a spy thriller. The film is riddled with espionage clichés, acting almost how it thinks a thriller of this nature should behave. The film is filled with spurious incidents; it is essential that concentrate on the action rather than the plot in order to see the fun in Abduction.

Abduction is clearly a vehicle for Twilight star Taylor Lautner. The film has a 12A certificate, which reflects the intended audience. The main characters are teenagers; again reflecting who the filmmakers think the movie will appeal to. Notwithstanding, the film is quite violent at times, and these scenes may be unsuitable for young viewers.

Performances in Abduction vary. The film features a well-known cast, including Sigourney Weaver, Alfred Molina and Maria Bello. While Bello and Molina are decent, Weaver does not match her usual standard. Taylor Lautner is adequate as lead Nathan, while Lily Collins fulfils the love interest role with her natural beauty.

Abduction is far fetched, and does not have a lot going for it in the narrative department. But the action sequences are entertaining, and overall the film is sufficiently distracting.

The Empire Big Screen Diaries – Day 3

Like the protagonist on an epic quest in a sword and sorcery film, I embarked on the final day of Empire Big Screen. First order of business was the Paramount Showcase. After a brief video animating the company’s biggest films, a series of trailers were shown. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol was followed by Paranormal Activity 3 and Like Crazy. After this, a featurette on Cowboys and Aliens was screened, introduced by Jon Favreau (on video). We also got to see a short clip of the Footloose remake, and the trailer for The Devil Inside (which was highly reminiscent of last year’s The Last Exorcism). Two clips of the Shrek spin-off Puss in Boots were then screened. Te footage was great; the film looks as if it will be very funny. To round things off, footage of The Adventures of Tin Tin was screened with a message from producer Peter Jackson and director Steven Spielberg. The clips looked good, but I always think humans in CG-animation look weird.

After a brief interlude, the Lionsgate Showcase began. After the trailer for A Dangerous Method was shown, we got to see footage from Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus. Set in the modern day but with the original Shakespearean dialogue, the film looks interesting if a little unusual. The showcase was rounded up by four trailers – 50/50, Abduction, Warrior and Conan the Barbarian.

Seizing the opportunity for a proper lunch break, we headed to Armadillo (again). My fish burger was nice, but I felt bad that we didn’t leave a proper tip. In fairness, it was all the change we had, but apologies to Armadillo staff.

The Disney Showcase was the final one of the weekend. Real Steel was first up, with director Shawn Levy on stage to talk about the film. He also gave away tickets to the premiere, but asked the most difficult question ever. Needless to say, I did not know the answer. Two clips were then screened; the film looks like fairly standard family fare. Andrew Stanton then introduced John Carter and footage from the film was screened. Finally, Steven Spielberg (by video) introduced some footage of his upcoming film War Horse. What struck me more than anything was that Spielberg seems to have some hand in directing or producing many of the films discussed this weekend. He may have even a hand producing this post. Human star of the film Jeremy Irvine then came on stage to discuss making War Horse.

After hanging out in the press room for a bit (Jeremy Irvine was being interviewed there, talent-spotters!), it was time for The Muppets! Director of The Muppets James Bobin and star Kermit the Frog were interviewed live via satelite. I was told that the Muppets were originally meant to appear in person. Maybe it is just as well this did not happen, as I may have got kicked out for running up on stage and hugging Kermit. The interview was a lot of fun, and the clip screened involved Kermit singing a song. It almost brought a tear to the eye…

After all that excitement, it was time for the Conan the Barbarian premiere. Jason Momoa was present to introduce the film, shown at the biggest screen at the O2 Cineworld. The film was pretty disappointing itself (review to follow).

After the very last visit to the press room, I went to the secret screening. Cineworld tried to rob me blind with their popcorn prices, after which I settled down to watch the film. Before it started, I asked the gentleman next to me if he knew what the film was (I did by this point). When he answered “Cowboys and Aliens” I was perplexed, and thought he was joking until he showed me his ticket. I was in the wrong screen. After cursing my stupidity, I ran next door and luckily the trailers were still on. I then settled down to watch The Debt, a very good thriller (review to follow). And that concluded Empire Big Screen; the film was good way to end a busy but exciting weekend.

Many thanks to Empire and Romley Davies for having me, plus all the lovely people who made the weekend so much fun (you know who you are!).