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Video Reviews

MPAA Rating
Credits
Genre
Drama, Action/Adventure
Cast
Taylor Lautner as Nathan; Lily Collins as Karen; Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Bennett; Maria Bello as Mara; Jason Isaacs as Kevin; Alfred Molina as Burton; Michael Nyqvist as Kozlow
Director
John Singleton (Four Brothers, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Shaft)
Distributor
Lionsgate
In Theaters
September 23, 2011
On Video
January 17, 2012
Reviewer
Paul Asay
Abduction

Abduction

The statue of David is more expressive than he is. And his smoldering good looks might fool you. But Nathan is a hurting young man. We know by the way he sometimes gets snippy with his mother, or the way he sometimes tries to beat the tar out of his father while sparring. We know by the way he flexes his biceps when folks he doesn't like walk past him at parties.

He tells Dr. Bennett, his psychiatrist, that his life sometimes feels like that of a stranger. And he has dreams about the huge, hairy beastie he turns into every time that annoyingly sparkly vampire—

Oh, no. Sorry. Wrong dream. Nathan dreams that some strange woman gets killed right in front of him. And he's had the same dream ever since he was a little kid.

His shrink tells him that when he has that dream, he should take a deep breath and ignore it. Ignore it with all the ignorance he can possibly muster. Turn his attention to something else (practicing his smolder in front of a mirror, perhaps). Forget about digging around in his subconscious, she says. Best to just pretend its not there, bottle it all up inside and go on with life. Oh, and as far as feeling out of place … well, best to let that go too. Time's up!

But then one night while doing a rare bit of homework, Nathan runs across a missing persons website—one that features images of what missing kids would look like years later as adults. And he discovers that one of them looks just like … Taylor Lautner! And Nathan too, of course. But before he can get some answers from his parents, they're gunned down right in front of him. And then the ne'er-do-wells nearly kill his pretty next-door neighbor, Karen by blowing up his house.

Nathan suddenly has that sinking feeling that there may be something more going on here, something that even his smolder can't solve.

Positive Elements

Nathan is a nice guy—or so the movie tells us. We know he's nice because when he passes out drunk after a party in someone's front yard, he helps pick up the trash the next morning. We know he's nice because when he's fleeing would-be killers and needs to push people out of his way, he apologizes. And we know he's nice because he does his utmost to try to keep Karen from being killed.

Karen has taken a shine to Nathan too. When an assailant demands that she tell him where Nathan's hiding, for instance, she vigorously shakes her head in refusal. Also: Nathan's parents sacrifice their lives for him.

Spiritual Content

Nathan finds an important card embossed with a Christian cross.

Sexual Content

We learn that Nathan and Karen kissed when they were in eighth grade—then drifted apart. Now they quickly make up for lost time, hugging and smooching and clutching like crazy inside a train's sleeper car. They smooch some more in a deserted baseball stadium.

Nathan's parents also clutch and kiss. And his dad says Karen's "hot."

It takes the film all of five minutes to contrive a way to get Taylor, er, Nathan shirtless. Karen wears midriff-revealing and low-cut outfits, and uses her sex appeal to coax someone into doing something illegal. Workout wear is skintight. We see bikini-clad women fighting at a pool party. There's a joke about virginity.

Violent Content

Killers invade Nathan's home and, before it's over, one of them has his neck broken and both of Nathan's parents are dead from gunshots. Nathan pounds one of the attackers with his fists and a fireplace poker. Then the building explodes and throws Nathan and Karen into the family pool, where debris rains down around them.

Russian bad guys shoot and kill a bevy of CIA agents (at long range). CIA agents shoot villains. A would-be assassin is snuffed out by a sniper bullet. Nathan and a bad guy tussle on the train: Twice during the fight, the bad guy lies still, eyes open and vacant, only to revive again. So Nathan ends it once and for all by throwing him out a window. Nathan hurts his fist on an evildoer's jaw and injures his leg jumping off a ledge. He and Karen both have to leap out of a careening car. And Dr. Bennett's vehicle explodes.

Nathan plans to shoot and kill a baddie. Karen is hit, threatened (with the amputation of her finger), and tied up and gagged. We see Nathan's birth mother killed in flashback: A killer wearing a gas mask beats her as a mysterious vapor fills the room.

After Nathan comes home drunk one morning, his dad forces him to put on boxing gloves and spar—insulting his son as they trade leather. Nathan grows enraged, and the two begin kicking each other too. Dad punches him hard enough to make him vomit.

Crude or Profane Language

One f-word, a half-dozen or more s-words and a frosting of other profanities, including "a‑‑," "b‑‑ch," "d‑‑n," "h‑‑‑" and "p‑‑‑." God's name and Jesus' name are misused once each. We hear a couple of crude references to male body parts.

Drug and Alcohol Content

The first time we meet Nathan, he's on his way to a party with two buds to get drunk. (They tell each other, "Let's go get drunk.") While we don't see the level of intoxication Nathan's friends eventually hit (all three appear to be guzzling gallons of beer), Nathan winds up passing out on the party-thrower's front lawn. His parents drink wine with dinner.

Other Negative Elements

In a stunt sure to be emulated, Nathan rides on the hood of his friends' truck, egging on the driver to go faster. Characters lie to one another. One of Nathan's friends sells fake IDs and later "borrows" an elderly woman's car. Nathan spits in someone's face.

Conclusion

Taylor Lautner's Twilight-derived star wattage will certainly draw prepubescent moviegoers into theaters, where they will watch the postpubescent pinup get drunk, beat people up, take his shirt off and glower for the camera. They will wade through a simple yet strangely incomprehensible movie in which outlandish plot devices pile up like so much lint in the dryer. Though much of the film seems cribbed from an Alfred Hitchcock-style thinking-man's thriller, the only real thinking Abduction audiences will be doing is pondering why Sigourney Weaver agreed to appear in it.

No one is actually abducted in Abduction. Yet the title still fits like a glove as it extends to us an unintentional truth: Sit through this film and you'll realize that two hours of your life has been taken from you, with nary a ransom note in sight.

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