Saturday, January 21, 2012

DVD surprise: J. Singleton's ABDUCTION is not the worst movie of your year/lifetime

So what's with the near-zero score that ABDUCTION rates on Rotten Tomatoes? (Only four critics out of nearly 100 had anything good to say about it.)

TrustMovies is not necessarily going to recommend it, either. He only watched it because Blockbuster, in its usual obtuse fashion, neglected to stock Dirty Girl this week, so there was practically nothing new to take out of the local store. (Yes, TM has gone back to BB, after receiving a free month during which the company promised to show him how much better its "Total Access" program is now than when it first began trying to compete with Netflix some years back. How's it doing? Not so well, but more on this later.)

Meanwhile, back to the movie that was to launch Taylor Lautner's post-Twilight-franchise career. Abduction is slick, shiny, silly, by-the-numbers, fast-moving fun -- boasting  a cast of supporting players much better than it has any right to possess. Isn't that Maria Bello (above)? Yes, and there's Jason Issacs, too (below).

And oh, my: Signorney Weaver (shown at right), Alfred Molina (at bottom, left) and Michael Nyqvist (the hero of the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, though, here, he's something less of a good guy).  Really now -- how bad can watching these people be? Not bad at all, once you realize how by-the-book this enterprise is. Then you can sit back, relax and enjoy the "moments."  And there are a number of fun ones.

My point is, should there be a teenage family member dead set on seeing this movie, don't worry: You can have a good time, too. Enjoy the slickness of the look and the fast pacing that director John Singleton, shown at left, provides (for my money this one's the most fun he's given us since his Shaft remake). Savor the little moments the keep happening when high school kids try to look and act like action/
adventure stars. That's what makes the movie both silly and a little endearing.

The two ostensible leads, Lautner (above, left) and Lilly Collins (above, right), are good-looking youngsters who may someday impress us. For now, they're serviceable but little more, and their would-be love-scene in the compartment of a fast-moving train is a real hoot. These kids strike love-making postures/poses they've clearly seen adult actors handle with aplomb, but when they do it, it's closer to funny. (Not to worry, parents: The two stop before anything untoward happens -- which is itself not particularly believable).

Much of what makes the movie watchable is its sense of kids out of their element and over their heads into everything from espionage to murder, car chases and sex. At one point, their friend Gilly, nicely played by Denzel Whitaker (above, right), asks if these two on the run will be all right, and Ms Collins simply crosses her fingers, as if begging heaven for some good luck. Very childlike, very sweet. It turns out that playing at being grown-ups can still be fun.

Abduction, from Lionsgate, is available now, on Blu-ray or DVD, for sale or rental.

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