Abduction (UK - BD RB)
Marcus watches a Taylor Lautner movie in which no one actually gets abducted.
Nathan Harper's (Taylor Lautner) life turns out to be a lie. After discovering a picture of himself as a child on a missing persons website, he realises his parents (Jason Isaacs and Maria Bello) are not who they say they are and even his shrink Dr. Bennet (Sigourney Weaver) has more to her than he was led to believe.
After an attack on his family home, Nathan and girl next door Karen (Lily Collins) go on the run as both the CIA and the bad guys race to track Nathan down.
Abduction starts like every other teen aimed movie, with the all-American star being all "Dude. Yeaaaaah. Bro" with his mates and going to a house party. Then comes the crush on the girl who our star has been friends with for years in a bit of an eyebrow romance. Launter with his permanent scowl, Collins with, well, those quickly becoming signiture brows. This growing love affair is dull from the get go with almost no chemistry and their almost love scene on a train is icky with the pair getting each other all hot and bothered while talking about their brief fling in middle school.
When the twist in the tale arrives and Nathan sees a younger picture of himself on the missing person website his slide back in his chair realisation that the young kid on the laptop screen could very well be him is laugh out loud hilarious, but when his only argument is "we have the same exact chin" (not face, chin) it all gets a little stupid. This could be charming, or at least more acceptable if Launter had some personality, but he's neither a cool guys' guy or a charming shy guy the chicks might like (yet they do in all his shirtless glory). He's so bland and comes with no weight in his performance. It's actually pretty embarrassing when he's in scenes with Alfred Molina or Sigourney Weaver and it's made all the worse considering they seem to be coasting through most of this as well.
I'm not knocking the guy completely because most big megastars start in guff like this, but that doesn't stop this movie from being a pretty tired 'on the run' thriller with characters making continuous bad moves (like using phones when they shouldn't - jeez watch a movie or something every knows you'll be traced by this point). It goes from generic to silly pretty damn fast once the chasing begins with an unravelling mystery that's layers are unengaging. Abduction becomes a mix between the usual bad teen spin on better grown up movies and a 'do this and then do that' paint by numbers story, much like that of a middling video game plot.
Strangely the one element I thought might work were the fight scenes but beyond a few choice martial arts moves I never felt that Lautner could win a fight. The punch up with the big lug on the train felt super choreographed in Launter's favour and had no real oomph to it, but saying that when you have a villain whose best threat is "you''ll be responsible for the death of all of your friends on Facebook" you know that you're not watching a meaty action thriller.
On a side note I can see Abduction being converted into a TV show in the next few years. This felt so much like a pilot episode by the time it wrapped up and the mystery of who Nathan's dad really is took centre stage (I was hoping it would be Dean Cain - it wasn't). It just seems like the sort of thing Teen TV shows thrive on - well for thirteen episodes before they get cancelled. Anyway, if it happens, I called it here first.
Straight away Abduction has a bright colourful modern HD image. Colours are vibrant and the whole image shines with that HD orange glow. Textures run a little flat except for close ups with the older actors, whose faces show every wrinkle. The only noteworthy feature on Launter's face really, is his 'tashe stubble, unless we're in a uber close up and even then his face is super smooth, with no real detail.
Black levels are solid with good use of shadow. The 'on the run' locations, such as forests and road sides look bright and colourful with the green of the trees and such really popping. As this is a big budget HD affair everything feels slick, the bright image barely falters and even darker scenes rarely slip into too much darkness (after all you wouldn't want them hiding the star now would ya girls?)
Straight out the gate this DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is bassy. It's a layered punchy track with plenty of ambience in exterior as well as interior scenes and there's strong music accompaniment whether it be at parties or the generic teen rock thumpers chosen for the soundtrack (and boy are they generic).
Dialogue is crisp throughout, as are sound effects and smaller moments in the score which also do their jobs well. Everything else is full on high octane thriller, especially once the secret's out. Weighty explosions, kicks and punches, smashes, crashes and thumps galore with a stand out shoot out in a diner, that really ramps up everything. Music and gunfire roar out of speakers for a minute or so and then we're off with a pretty strong thriller audio mix until the credits roll.
The disc comes with a 'DTS-HD Master Audio Sound Check' for those wanting to check their set up. Then we're onto 'The Abduction Application' which is a customizable in film experience. Essentially, depending on what you switch on at the start, you get interviews, storyboards and on set footage which all take up the full screen while the movie slips into an all but silent small box in the corner. It's sort of specific to scenes but it's essentially routine making of stuff cobbled into an enhanced viewing mode.
Then we're onto the featurettes, which honestly felt like the same thing over and over again. 'Abduction Chronicle' (18:17 HD), 'Initiation of an Action Hero' (11:57 HD) and 'The Fight for the Truth' (12:01 HD) all feel like they are about the same thing. Taylor Launter and not much else. Taylor can fight. Taylor can do action. Taylor is a star. It's all very fluffy.
Last up is 'Pulled Punches' (03:37 HD) which is the gag reel and honestly it's not funny.
Abduction is a big dumb ass Hollywood teen thriller but you didn't need me to review this disc to work that one out. Taylor Launter isn't going to convince anyone of any hidden acting talents he might have, like his Twilight co stars seem to be trying to do with their film choices, but hey this is and all-American looking guy who already has quite a fan base so this seems to be the logical path for him to take. The disc is solid, with bright, shiny visuals and thumping audio and while the extras are easy to swallow junk food, I'm sure the fan base for this sort of thing will enjoy the majority of it (after all it's more Taylor for their cravings).
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over
Release Date: 13th February 2012
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 English
Subtitles: English SDH
Extras: The Abduction Application, Featurettes
Easter Egg: No
Director: John Singleton
Cast: Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Sigourney Weaver
Genre: Action, Drama and Thriller
Length: 106 minutes
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