Review of Abduction

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Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins star in this 2011 thriller directed by John Singleton. The story at the center of the film involves a teenager (played by Lautner) who sets out to uncover the truth about his life after discovering his baby picture on a missing persons website.

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Movie Review for "Abduction"
--Rating: PG-13 (mild language, teen partying, intense violence, intense action, mild language)
Release Date: September 23, 2011
Directed by: John Singleton
Genre: Action/Mystery

For years, Hollywood has been trying to find the next young action star. Many have gone through their paces but few have succeeded. With "Abduction," Taylor Lautner gets to show not only his action film chops but his leading man ones as well.

Lautner stars as troubled teen Nathan, who keeps having the same bad dream over and over. In addition, he has an attitude problem and sometimes gets into trouble at school. This leads his loving parents (Maria Bello and Jason Isaacs) to send him to a psychiatrist named Dr. Bennett (Sigourney Weaver).

Nathan has a crush on his neighbor Karen (Lily Collins), who is assigned as his partner on a school project. While researching online, he comes across a website for missing children. He is shocked to discover that one of the pictures on the site is his.

Nathan confronts his parents, asking if they really are his mom and dad. Unfortunately, this line of questioning eventually gets both parents killed. Unsure whether they were his real parents or not, Nathan is now alone while being chased by some mysterious Russians. Karen is in the wrong place at the wrong time and so is now a target of the bad guys as well. They hit the road in a hurry, trying to lose the Russians long enough to figure out exactly what is happening.

As is often the case in mystery plots, the good guy tries going to the authorities for help. He finds a CIA chief named Burton (Alfred Molina), who may be crooked. As it turns out, Dr. Bennett is working with Burton and has been a CIA agent all along. When he finds this out, Nathan loses his trust in Dr. Bennett, which leaves him with no adults to turn to for help. Nathan must rely on Karen and his best friend Gilly (Denzel Whitaker), who is at home through most of the movie trying to research and piece together the clues Nathan gives him.

As the pieces of the puzzle begin to come together, Nathan and Karen find themselves in increasingly hotter water. There are enough chase scenes and bombs to satisfy even the biggest action fans. Lautner obviously spent a long time in the gym chiseling his abs and perfecting his kickboxing techniques. His dedication shows in the fight scenes, which are well crafted by director John Singleton.

The romance between Nathan and Karen heats up even as they are on the run and dodging bullets. At one point she is captured, which gives Nathan one more problem to have to deal with. Though their burgeoning relationship is secondary to the action, it is very sweet and will satisfy "Twilight" fans who are used to seeing Lautner in a more romantic role.

The film is set in Pittsburgh, which is an underrated locale for an action film. The many rivers and bridges give lots of unique places to film and increase the danger of the action sequences. The film also features the Pittsburgh Pirates' baseball stadium, which is the setting for the conclusion. The city is so well utilized that one could argue that Pittsburgh served as a character in the movie as well.

After watching "Abduction," it is clear that Lautner is more than just a pretty face with a well-toned body. He plays the action sequences effortlessly, but he doesn't have much to say. The script by Shawn Christensen is sparse on the dialogue but heavy on the thrills. While it remains to be seen whether Lautner can step out of the "Twilight" shadows, "Abduction" gives him action credibility and a good start to his solo career.