PG-13, 1 hr. 46 min. Directed by: John Singleton. Release Date: September 23, 2011.
At some point in my blogging history, I suggested that Taylor Lautner might have sufficient talent to actually pull away from his doom spiral career. Abduction has finalized my opinion: he doesn't. He only appears to have talent when compared against Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart... which I guess means just about anyone would look talented under those constraints. Unfortunately, Lautner isn't the only problem. The cast is peppered with some fine actors, all of whom are ingredients in the same suck salad. Alfred Molina is generally brilliant, and rarely less than fully enjoyable, but he was terrible here. What we witnessed was a classic phone-in. We don't see it very often from actors who are actually good at their craft, it seems to afflict the talentless pretty boys and girls that swarm Hollywood like well-coiffed lemmings. Maria Bello is someone I frequently enjoy, but she was cold and kind of lame here.
If you look at some of the posters, you could be forgiven for assuming that this was something like The Bourne Identity and related sequels. Sadly, the movie actually tries to mimic the antics of Jason Bourne, but poorly. Lautner lacks the age and screen presence of Matt Damon. The tale of Nathan-Steven-Price-Whatever isn't as interesting as Bourne's, and quite frankly, the first half of the film seems to be little more than homage to the stupidity of the teenage male. I spent at least half an hour rolling my eyes and wishing that Lautner and his friends would be killed during one of their escapades, but no such luck.
I said this was an attempt at clutching on to the popularity of the Bourne movies, but what I noticed most was it was another in a slew of films made in the last five years or so in which a child star proves, beyond any possible doubt, that he or she is all grown up. We saw Anne Hathaway do it (the first time) in Havoc, Ben Barnes joined her campaign in Dorian Gray, and now everyone's favorite pent-up virginal werewolf is making time in a train carriage. While I get the reason for these ridiculous performances, they're a little pathetic, especially since two of the three of these have proven just how unready for grown up roles the actor was. And at least Anne Hathaway has had the grace to return occasionally to her family fantasy roles.
So, my basic recommendation to skip this. It's a movie that we've seen countless times before. It fails to bring life to a very tired genre in any way. It also suffers from the worst possible sin: boredom generation. I'm going to admit that I should have seen Moneyball instead, but I wasn't feeling up for something even a little bit serious. A frustrating afternoon on the phone with my cross-country movers left me chomping at the bit for something that wouldn't do more than entertain me. Sadly, I failed to get what I was looking for.