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By Pam Glazier · September 25, 2011
Okay, I’ll admit it. I likedTwilight.
Sure it fed into all that B.S. that chicks eat up by the bushel full, but there’s a reason that stuff is popular. I mean, yeah, sparkley vampires are most definitely lame-o, and all those “teen angst meets William Shatner” pauses were definitely over-the-top, but the dudes were hot, they loved unconditionally, and they offered absolute security (aside from the whole “might eat you” thing). What’s not to like about that? Danger’s hot, right?
In Jacob’s…I mean, Taylor Lautner’s new movie, Abduction, the background’s different, but the fantasy is pretty darn similar. Hot high school dude Nathan (Lautner) seems to have the perfect life. He’s got friends, lives in a nice neighborhood, his parents (Jason Isaacs/Maria Bello) are still together and love each other, and his only problem is that he’s in love with Karen (Lily Collins), the prettiest girl in school, but he can’t buck up the courage to ask her out. Needless to say, his life is pretty privileged, so for the first part of this movie you may find yourself bored as hell. There’s no conflict, and the intro goes on way too long. I mean sure, he has rage issues, but what do you know—he tells his shrink (Sigourney Weaver) he’s succeeding in dealing with them. Great. No conflict there either.
But eventually we come to the point. Nathan discovers that he’s on a missing persons database, which makes him question whether his parents are kidnappers or not. He calls into the hotline, which is actually a black-ops cover for some bad guys, and this sets off a whole chain of messed up events. Nathan’s parents are murdered, the CIA is after him, the bad guys are after him, and he doesn’t know who to trust. He finds out that his parents were actually undercover CIA operatives who were assigned to keep him safe, but there’s a mole in the agency, so now he’s on his own. Luckily, his undercover CIA “foster” dad taught him every type of martial art known to man so that Nathan would be ready for something like this. And, of course, hot-girl-Karen is accidentally drawn in to this whole mess and goes on the lam with him once all the shit hits the fan. Nathan must find out who his real parents are to get to the bottom of things.
And there it is. The fantasy is intact.
Pretty boy Nathan loves Karin unconditionally and will protect her to the death despite all the danger that he puts her in. Granted, there’s more to this film than just that, and it’s from the guy’s perspective this time, but I’m simply pointing out that there’s a similar draw here. On another note, the action in this movie is pretty thrilling, which is good news for the guys, and there are a lot of gratuitous no-shirt-scenes for the girls, so everybody wins. On top of that, the supporting cast is phenomenal, which adds some cred to this flick and is almost enough to make you overlook some of the more horrible lines of dialog:
Karin: Are we going to die, Nathan?
Nathan: No, I won’t let that happen.
Karin: Wow, that’s better than middle school.
Nathan: That’s ‘cause I know what I’m doing now.
Karin: And no braces either.
I was violently cringing throughout that entire scene. But like I said, Jason Isaacs and Maria Bello as the foster parents, Sigourney Weaver as the shrink, and Alfred Molina as the CIA guy help to temper some of the more “blechy” aspects. And it works.
It is sad, however, that after laying in all that character work into Nathan’s “foster” parents, they’re simply offed right as soon as things get interesting. I would have liked to see what would have happened within that family dynamic while they’re trying to survive the CIA, survive black-ops assassins, explain past choices, and rebuild trust with Nathan. But then again, that would have left little time for the love story and to have Nathan prove himself as a man. So, thinking in those terms, maybe some of the scenes with the “foster” parents could’ve been edited down so that the beginning was more concise and the story more focused.
All in all, this movie is a decent popcorn flick. Luckily, the awkward bits of romantic dialogue and the drawn out intro don’t really mess things up that badly. So, if you’re a guy, just show up a little late to avoid the slow start. If you’re a chick, Jacob goes shirtless in the first five minutes, so be on time.