A pretty conventional action-drama. Has a degree of intrigue but this just feels contrived and implausible. Plot develops in random, get-to-the-next-action-scene fashion, meaning that not much makes sense after a while.
Cast should be a give away that this wasn't going to be anything more than a weak teen-orientated fluff piece. While we do have the gravitas of such great performers as Sigourney Weaver and Alfred Molina, we also have the talentless Taylor Lautner in the lead role. Clearly just there for his muscles and to get the moronic Twilight fans to watch the movie, he really doesn't help the movie. What little credibility it had disappeared once he was cast and he lives up to the reputation, giving a very wooden performance.
Lily Collins plays the love interest and puts in a solid performance, especially considering the (weak) material she had to work with.
Sad that John Singleton's career has come to this. Considering that he directed Boyz n the Hood and Higher Learning, two great social commentaries, this movie is truly beneath him.
This movie "Stole" precious hours of my life and I will never get those back. Abduction is awful. It amazes me that movies like this are put into production. Don't ever watch this movie.
Wanna-be Borne identity style teen-fare, this preposterously rusted plot vehicle careens off a cliff. The corny, cringe-worthy and schmaltzy dialogue heads straight past laughable taking a hard right at ridiculous. The tepid action stunts sequences, woefully appalling writing and ludicrous premise leave this listless film in such bad state of repair even a stellar supporting cast simply can not save.
Nathan Harper (Taylor Lautner) seems to be your average fun-loving rebellious high schooler seeking all the usual thrills. Attending (aka passing out at) wild kegger parties, longingly pining whilst covertly gazing and physically threatening any boyfriend of the pretty girl-across-the-road Karen (Lily Collins) and pushing the usual parental-unit bounds as laid out (played by the woefully underutilised Maria Bello and Jason Isaacs).
Underneath the playful reputation however Nathan suffers from insomnia, impulsivity and anger issues; brought about by an overtly vivid nightmare about helplessly watching a woman being violently attacked. His weekly visits to shrink Dr. Bennett (Sigourney Weaver) help and his typical family dynamics combined with mixed-martial arts style father-son roughhousing, things seem to be improving.
Until, when researching a school sociology paper (with object of his affection Karen), Nathan randomly stumbles across a missing children's photographic website posting that resembles him to a tee. But before he can confront his unsuspecting mother, Nathan's world is turned upside down as a procession of dangerous contract killers who proceed to murder his parents, blow up his house and leave him on the run with helpless bystander Karen in tow.
Desperate for assistance and answers, Nathan has no time to absorb anything before being thrust head long into the covert world of espionage. Targeted by the mandatory double of hired goons with vague Russian accents and rouge CIA agents, no one can be trusted and no where is safe for the two would-be sweetheart teens.
Just as Nathan reveals 'Everyone around me is dying' and 'I feel like a stranger in my life' The intervention of CIA head-honcho Frank Burton (Alfred Molina), whom may or may not be genuinely concerned for their safety; simply complicates matters further. What follows is a dangerous cat-and-mouse game of deceit and intrigue.
The perfect definition of 'Action-lite', it is impossible to fake the faintest enthusiasm, even for perpetually shirtless twi-hunk Taylor Lautner. Now before Team Jacob fans get up in arms, he actually did a relatively decent in his first foray into leading role territory delivering a modicum of believability. Although his facial expressions and acting range is limited, Lautner has strong and genuine action physicality.
The curious thing about this movie is not the plot, as you would think, but the fact that absolutely nothing works. The surprising supporting cast including heavyweights Weaver, Isaacs, Bello, Michael Nyqvist and the uncredited Dermot Mulroney do their best but can't even make it look good. Sadly, lead actress Lily Collins although shares a nice chemistry with Lautner (of whom were dating during filming) drags the project further into the abyss.
The Verdict: Bordering on ridiculous, the top-notice advice offered early in the piece "there will be a time for you to deal with all of this, but right now you need to get your (act) together" is more serendipitous than the writer could have expected.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 30/09/2011