Sunday, March 04, 2012

Reel Low: Abduction [2011]

Sometimes, my love for the city of Pittsburgh petrifies me.

Case and point: I willingly sat through the entirety of Abduction for no other reason than because the movie was set in the City of Champions.

Oh, the trailer pointed to nothing special for most people. It was clearly just a vehicle to squeeze some cash from members of #TeamJacob in withdraw from the most recent Twilight installment. But when I saw that kid in a Roberto Clemente jersey blitzing his merry way around PNC Park, home of my beloved Buccos, in the trailer, I knew I'd have to see it.

At the high end of my expectations, I had hoped Abduction would be a movie so bad it'd be good, ala Sudden Death (a bona fide Pittsburgh classic). Alas, it was nothing of the sort. It was just boring.

There were, of course, some other signs of hope beforehand. The supporting cast is actually quite impressive for a teen action flick released in September. Lautner's parents (I can't recall what his character's name was and don't care to look it up, so deal) are played by Jason Issacs and Maria Bello, Sigourney Weaver is his therapist, and Alfred Molina fills the role of a top CIA official trying to reel him in once he goes on the run. And directing that impressive group of actors is none other than Academy Award nominee John Singleton. That would've meant something 15 years ago, but unfortunately for Abduction, Singleton has been slumming around in Hack City for a solid decade now. But even during the earlier, promise-filled stage of his career, I doubt Singleton could've directed much of anything worthwhile from this snooze-fest of a script.

*** Do yourself a favor and keep on reading so you don't have to subject yourself to this dull excuse of an action flick, but if you care about avoiding SPOILERS, be warned there will be plenty of them from here on out. ***

The plot is flimsy, un-engaging and filled with random occurrences (there's a bomb in the oven!) that do little more than place our hero in a position to punch, kick or evade his pursuers. And as a bonus, we even get such memorable dialogue as, "I just saw my parents get murdered... in front of my eyes." Now, I'm sure that line was intended to convey a great sense of anger, confusion and loss, but with the limited prowess of Lautner's acting abilities, he couldn't even deliver it in a manner which I felt comfortable transcribing it with an exclamation point.

Our boy Taylor shows absolutely zero signs of being a capable actor in his first starring turn. You know how lessor reviewers fall back on the comparison of an awful performance to that of a block of wood? He's so bland, I can't even bother to concoct a creative way to tell you how uninteresting of a job he did here. I hope the kid either takes some acting classes or goes into male modeling full-time because I don't see how he'll have much of a future in Hollywood once that Twilight fame starts to fade. In other words, he probably couldn't out-act a block wood.

In short, Abduction is not worth your time, even if you're as Pittsburgh obsessed as I am.

I suppose my expectations were skewed by some other decent, yet unspectacular movies filmed in my old hometown in recent years, such as Zack & Miri Make A Porno, The Next Three Days, She's Out Of My League and Adventureland. We Yinzers were not so fortunate this time around. Hey, at least we still have a collapsing Heinz Field in The Dark Knight Rises to wipe the memory of Abduction away!

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