|Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Abduction, Lionsgate, 2011.|
The schadenfreude that is American popular cinema is thrown under the bus in all of its vainglorious monstrosity with crafty director John Singleton's paycheck motivated Abduction. In theory a desperate bid by the powers that be to translate Twilight star Taylor Lautner into a stand alone star, in practice becomes a deliciously campy wreck you can't take your eyes off of.
Shawn Christensen's basic, by the numbers script is brought to the screen with a trash compacted force by Singleton, who similarly handled 2 Fast 2 Furious and Shaft. Hyper masculinity and burgeoning teen sexuality translate to fear and trembling in this modern spun action bubble gum yarn, replete with feuding FBI agents and shady villains, a token girlfriend and other throwaway characters as we go. Lautner has a boyish swagger and confidence with his physicality which makes him compulsively watchable. A-list actors the likes of Alfred Molina, Sigourney Weaver, Jason Isaacs and Maria Bello fill in the ranks.
What makes it work is the s(l)ickly done way in which Singleton, a pro at stylistic movement and subtext, takes the generic and touches on those stereotypes in a spirited way, complemented by surreal, frenzied action cut to Edward Shearmur's propulsive score. He has a knack for making us enjoy the obvious as if the candy coated razors are what we wanted all along. It is a dubious trait, but one attributable to his command of the craft. Boyz N the Hood, Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, Rosewood, Baby Boy and Four Brothers all used elements of the mainstream and genre to get us into their worlds, to care about their characters. While admittedly the bottom of his filmic barrel, Abduction is good trash.