No-one should ever have to watch the movie Abduction. It’s just…bad. It’s kind of like Bourne Identity for kids, but written by people trying way too hard to make it relateable to “kids these days”, (so a villain actually threatens to kill all of the heroes facebook friends), and lead Taylor Lautner is overacting so much, it’s awkward. As a service to you, then, the internet public, I will recap everything here to spare you from ever having to watch it yourself.
It begins with Tyler Lautner’s Nathan pulling a Death Proof move and riding on the hood of his friend’s car while they drive to what turns out to be your standard high-school-movie kegger. I think this is supposed to show that his character is reckless and thrill-seeking, but it actually makes him look like a douche because he screams “WOOOOOOH! WOOOOOOOOH!” the whole way, in a pitch that’s far too high to be considered badass.
So they get to the party, and the dialogue and action come to a standstill so we can switch back and forth between close-ups of Nathan and some girl’s faces when she arrives, because, you guys, OMG, they like each other or something! At least I think so. Either that or she stopped walking because all the thoughts fell out of her brain, and he just stared at her because she maybe had a booger hanging out of her nose? But, oh no, she has a boyfriend. He busts up their close-up eyeballing of each other by walking through their line of site, and also he bumps into Nathan when he walks by, which almost leads to a fight, except then not, because she whispers something in his ear and manages to pull him away.
Nathan’s Sarcastic Sidekick Friend (who doubles as his token minority friend) says, and I am not making this up, this is a verbatim quote: “Whoa! That was exciting. Let’s go get drunk!” The first of many amazing lines of dialogue. It’s almost Shakespeare. This friend, by the way, makes fake IDs for people, so add tech geek or criminal to his character’s list of stereotypical labels, your choice.
Nathan and his friends drink. Cut to, him waking up without his shirt on the lawn, and the party hostess and her friends are picking up the red plastic cups and beer cans littering the lawn “before my parents get home,” so he pitches in, even though she says “you don’t have to do that.” I’m so confused, I thought his character was a reckless drunken idiot, now I’m supposed to think he’s a fabulously mature guy because he picks up two pieces of trash voluntarily before his dad drives up and honks the horn all mad?
His dad is played by Jason Isaacs, (I love him!!) and I guess Nathan didn’t ask permission to go to this party, or overstayed his curfew, or else Dad is upset about the underage drinking. It’s one of those things, for sure. But he’s an unconventional parent, because for punishment he makes Nathan box with him in the backyard. Apparently this is something they do all the time, and it probably is pretty punitive to have to work out with a hangover. Nathan keeps getting beat by Dad, and complains “This is bullshit!” Dad snaps back, “I’ll tell ya what’s bullshit, bullshit’s getting so drunk you can’t defend yourself. Fight, and watch your back!” He also says some other stuff about how Nathan has to use his head and be patient to win against Dad because Dad is stronger. Also, Nathan has a Mom. Or else a cougar girlfriend who is his Dad’s sister? She watches them through the window and shakes her head, calling them “my boys.” So it could be either one.
Later, when Nathan is taking out the trash, the girl he likes (who is conveniently his neighbor) is conveniently breaking up with her boyfriend in her driveway. Boyfriend drives off, so clearly she’s fair game now. The girl’s name is Karen, I don’t remember when we learn that so I’ll just stick it in here, and she’s played by Lily Collins. So far her part has pretty much been wordlessly staring at things. She wordlessly watches her newly minted ex-boyfriend drive off, then wordlessly gazes at Nathan across the street, then wordlessly goes back inside where she probably stared silently at her hairspray can.
But it’s time for school! Or, a quick-cut Hollywood approximation of school anyway. Karen is a cheerleader! We know she’s the prettiest and most popular because she’s the only one who’s allowed to show her midriff, and also she’s front and center in the squad’s formation. All those other non-speaking-role cheerleaders have to keep their shirts on, or else we might notice one of them by accident. Meanwhile, Nathan is on the wrestling team with two of his friends, athlete friend and sarcastic friend who is bad at sports (but good at faking IDs, remember,) who wonders out loud why “you guys made me go out for wrestling” after losing, again. Nathan says, “it’s fun!” because he wins his matches and doesn’t care about his friend’s feelings. They don’t wrestle in singlets, because that would not look cool, and also because they’re not a real team. If they were they wouldn’t want their sarcastic friend to be on the team with them just so they could hang out, because his constant loosing would bring the team scores down. (That’s how you know it’s a movie, not real life).
Nathan drools over Karen while she’s at her locker, and she says “uhhh, I don’t want to go to class!” (You don’t believe that these are real quotes, do you? I promise, they are. Every single one.) Nathan and Karen conveniently have class together, and conveniently they get paired together for a group project which the teacher says is worth a ridiculously high percentage of their grade. They have to do theirs on child abductions. I don’t know what class this is supposed to be…Social Studies?
Karen comes over to Nathan’s to work on their project. He’s playing Xbox but frantically throws dirty laundry into a corner and changes his shirt and practices a pose or two between the time she rings the doorbell and gets escorted to his door by Mom. Mom asks if they “want the door open or closed?” which is how you start to suspect she’s not his real mom! Because real moms say, that door is staying open, mister! Because you are sixteen and you are doing schoolwork, not impregnating the neighbor!
Mom needn’t worry, Karen seems to think Nathan is beneath her. She scoffs “huh! You still like games,” when she sees the paused screen. Um, yes, you piece of snot, 16-year-old boys like video games. So do 20 and 30-year old boys. Know who else likes video games? Girls! Including this one. So…I don’t know why you made your observation all snobby like it was an insult. Who doesn’t like video games?! I guess the cheerleaders that are popular enough to show their midriffs.
They find a website with photographic projections of what missing children might look like today. After Karen leaves, Nathan discovers that one of them looks like him! This discovery is so shocking that he has to touch his chin in uffish thought as he ponders its significance. (Later he says “we have the same chin!” when defending this belief that the abducted child is him, so maybe that’s what he was going for here, but it just looks…stupid.)
He clicks on the site and tells a stranger in the website’s chatroom that he thinks he’s seen the missing kid. The kid’s name is Steven, I think. Twist—the website is a fake! The person chatting with him hacks his webcam and starts a trace! Nathan gets suspicious and closes his product-placement Macbook, but not fast enough. (Lesson: don’t chat with strangers on the internet!)
Nathan goes over the Karen’s, after lying to his parents that “nothing” is wrong. She doesn’t believe that the missing kid is him, but he gives her the we-have-the-same-chin line, and produces his old shirt which is the same as the one in the picture and even has the same shoulder-stain. They decide that she will come over to his house again later that night. (This is a pretty serious project. Three study dates within six hours? When is this thing due, tomorrow?)
Nathan confronts his mother when he gets home. He asks if she’s really his mother. She starts crying, and he starts sniffling, and she says she needs to go get his Dad because “he’s a part of this too” before she can tell him the truth. She says, “you’re what made us a family. I love you, you’re my son, and nothing’s gonna change that.” The music is pretty cliché.
Nathan doesn’t get to hear the truth from his “parents” because the bad guys show up. (Second lesson: don’t lie to your parents about what’s bothering you. If you say “nothing” and go confide in your neighbor girl crush instead, your parents might die.) Mom busts out some fight skills, but there are two bad guys and only one of her. Nathan sees her die, and the bad guys (dressed like ninjas all in black) see him see them. He runs back into his room and climbs out the window. Dad hears the commotion and comes inside and fights, too. Nathan circles back around to the back door. Dad sees him and tells him to run, to get out of here, and then he gets shot. (Oh no! Jason Isaacs! I’m sad.)
Nathan starts to run, but then remembers, “Karen!” She’s planning to come over! He told her just to walk in! Her bared midriff is in danger! He goes back and fights some bad guys to save her. I think she might use a fire iron to hit one of them, I can’t remember. Maybe there is only one left by that point anyway. Nathan rips off the pwned bad guy’s mask and demands to know who they are, what they want, etc. The bad guys says, “I’ll tell you what you want to know, but I’m not gonna die here. There’s a bomb in the oven.”
Thanks for the heads up, bad guy! Unfortunately he dies anyway, because Nathan and Karen use up the time they could have spent dragging him out of the house by going to the oven and opening the door. And yes, there is a bomb, conveniently one with a big fat timer on it counting down, so they know they have seven seconds to wordlessly stare at each other and run and jump into the swimming pool before the GIANT EXPLOSION THAT DESTROYS THE ENTIRE HOUSE! Kids, don’t try this at home. If you are not a movie star and someone tells you there’s a bomb somewhere, you get the hell out of there and call the bomb squad. If you must go and look for it, and it’s in the oven, don’t freaking open the door! What if it’s wired to explode when you do? At least try turning the oven light on and looking through the little window, am I right? Oh, and also, have a pool in your backyard so you can jump into it when your entire house explodes in a giant fireball. Seriously, they come up for air and stuff is still flying around and Karen suffers a dainty shoulder wound and they have to go underwater a second time. (I think they just wanted to make their day of underwater filming be used in more than just one shot.)
Nathan zooms Karen and her dainty shoulder wound to the hospital, on a motorcycle that somehow escaped unscathed from the explosion and is ready to go even though it’s what Dad was tinkering with right before he came inside and joined the fight. Whatever. At the hospital Nathan calls 911 from a payphone, but is connected to the CIA instead. They tell him to stay where he is and make the classic mistake of referring to him by name before he identified himself, so that he gets suspicious. The CIA guy says he needs to trust them, but Nathan parrots what his Mom said when he was grounded after that party, “trust needs to be earned.”
Then Sigourney Weaver shows up—she’s his shrink, did I forget to mention that? He has a recurring dream about watching a woman die through some sort of veil, and she’s treating him for “rage and insomnia.” (You know what kind of creatures are sleepless and given to violent rages? Vampires! Now that would be an unexpected twist!) She says he needs to leave right stat now, because she used up all their extra get-away time filling a dozen balloons with helium so they could block the security cameras with them. Doctor Shrink doesn’t think Nathan should stick with Karen, because she’ll only slow him down. But Nathan and Karen can’t split up, because they haven’t kissed yet. So they both jump out of Doc’s SUV and tumble down a grassy hill into some tree cover, and all the CIA guys keep chasing after Doc and then you see another GIANT EXPLOSION and assume Doc just died in a fiery, fiery, fiery car crash. Did she have tubs of gasoline in the trunk? What is with these ridiculous explosions?
Nathan and Karen now have to get in the water, I guess to cover their tracks from bloodhounds or something. So they swim out to a little pile of clustered driftwood and breathe heavily while they stare at each other, avoiding a searchlight. It’s awkward. Then when they’re back ashore (same shore, or did they swim to the other side? Who knows,) Nathan pilfers some blankets from a random woodland dweller’s clothesline, but neither he nor Karen seem to know how to make efficient use of them. Instead of wrapping the blankets up around them, because, you know, it’s cold and they just got soaked, they spread one down, sit on a corner of it while the other one is loosely draped around themselves, and then they stare at each other and breath heavily and slowly, slowly recline. It’s so awkward, yet all I can think about is how they ought to pick up the other half of the blanket that is just lying useless on the ground and wrap it around themselves. How stupid are these kids?! They’re going to freeze to death.
The next morning, having miraculously escaped death by freezing, they hitch a ride from a trucker to an address in Virginia that Doctor Shrink told them about. Oh, did I forget to mention that Doctor Shrink told Nathan she was a friend of his father’s? “Your real father!” But nobody is there. Nathan gets a gun and a cell phone with weird, matrix-y text on it’s screen, from his dad’s desk. Karen enters the room towel-drying completely dried hair, and then fixes the collar on his jacket like they are an old married couple. “Thanks,” says Nathan. Oh, the chemistry.
They go to visit Nathan’s biological mom’s grave. I think they get the address from his dad’s computer, somehow, because he had flowers delivered there or something. And they go to the cemetery and ask a fat nerdy kid with freckles working there if he can give them contact info on whoever ordered those flowers delivered. Fat kid says no, that’s not allowed, but Karen is a cheerleader with midriff-baring powers, so if she smiles at this poor loser he’ll do it. (That must be how they got the ride from the trucker, too! Good thing Nathan didn’t ditch her when Doctor Shrink recommended it! ) I guess they get an address, because then they board a train. Nathan decides to bring the giant gun he got from his dad’s place, because there’s no such thing as security screening for train travelers.
The first thing Nathan and Karen do when they open the door to their little sleeping compartment on the train is complain about how not nice it is. They say something like ‘it’ll have to do’ or else ‘it’s better than nothing.’ Um, excuse me, didn’t you spend last night on the ground, soaking wet and cold?! This is a huge step up. Good grief you kids are so effing whiny! It’s like you acted each scene out by itself without remembering any of the surrounding context or thinking about how it fits into the larger narrative! Seriously, I think that’s why there are so many awkward Nathan/Karen shots, because every single scene they’re trying to make it obvious that they like each other. Yeah. We get it! More story, less teeny-bop romance, please!
Ah, but we’re just getting to the actual romance part of the movie! Karen’s all, remember that time we hooked up in the summer before (or was it after?) 8th grade? How come you never called me after that? And Nathan’s like, oh yeah, I remember, um, I dunno why I never called, I mean I totally liked you and everything.
Karen: “Are we gonna die, Nathan?”
Nathan: “No. I won’t let that happen.”
Karen: “That’s better than middle school.”
Nathan:”That’s because I know what I’m doing now.”
Karen: “And no braces, either!”
**they continue making out**
Karen:”We should get some food.”
**snog snog snog snog**
Nathan:”Yeah. I’m starving.”
**smooch smooch smooch smocch**
Karen:”Um, I’ll knock twice before keying in.”
So Karen goes to the food car and literally talks out loud to herself while she selects edibles about whether or not Nathan will want to eat them. I mean, she’s right to be concerned, because teenage boys are notoriously picky eaters, right? Meanwhile, a bad guy has caught up with Nathan and they fight. (Nathan actually opens the door to check and see if Karen is coming, so, we never get to find out if the bad guy would have been able to figure out the super-secure “knock twice” code that was Karen’s idea.) The movie is so bad by this point that they try to improve it by bringing back Jason Isaacs! In voice-over, anyway, repeating the lines he told hung-over, punished-by-boxing Nathan about using his head and being able to beat a bigger, stronger opponent. Nathan wins, although he hurts his hand with one of the punches–he ultimately throws the dude out the window, only to turn around and realize that Karen saw him toss a body out of a speeding train, and now he’s definitely not getting to second base. At least not on this train ride.
Oh my lord, is this movie freaking over yet? I am so tired of writing this recap.
The train stops because the CIA found the body. Don’t worry, it really was a bad guy. See, Nathan’s real dad is a spy. He’s recently stolen some pretty important intel, a list of double-crossers, and the bad guys are after Nathan to use as leverage to get the intel back, and the CIA are after Nathan to protect him, allegedly. Anyway, Nathan and Karen try to make a run for it into the woods by the train but there are too many CIA people, and they lure them out by reminding them “you must be hungry,” and also by complying with Nathan’s demand to answer the question, “What’s my real name?!” Because, remember, the website of the missing kid said his name was Steven. They say his full name was Nathan Steven, or else Steven Nathan, and his mom wanted him to be called Nathan but his dad wanted Steven, so that’s why there’ the two name confusion. Nathan is satisfied with this answer, (which is kinda dumb of him because there is no way for him to know whether they are lying to him or not, but either way he’s outmatched and surrounded anyway,) and comes out of the trees. The CIA guy buys him “a burger and a milkshake,” and they sit in the window of a local burger joint while they talk about all the stuff I said at the beginning of this paragraph.
CIA guy says they’re involved in a war, but “it’s a polite war, it’s not about bullets and bombs, it’s about information.” Riddle me this, then, if it’s not about bullets, why have there been so many guns involved? Why are there CIA snipers on every surrounding building, protecting Nathan? More importantly, if Nathan needs to be protected by numerous armed guards, why is he sitting in front of the freaking front window?! Seems like they’re just making their job needlessly harder.
Wouldn’t you know it, the bad guys catch up, take out the snipers, and shoot out the window. I don’t remember how but of course Nathan and Karen get away and are driving to who knows where, and Nathan shows Karen the phone with the matrix-y stuff on it that he found at his dad’s and says he thinks it’s the list they are all looking for. Then his phone rings, and when he answers it Baddie Bad Guy is all, mwah-ha-ha, thanks for spilling your guts, I turned your phone into a listening device and now I know everything! Baddie Bad Guy says Nathan better hand over that list, or he will kill all his friends, and their parents, “and when I’m finished, you’ll be responsible for every friend you have on facebook!” Simply horrifying.
Nathan and Karen meet up with Sarcastic Sidekick Friend, (the one with fake ID skills, remember?) He’s made them some fake IDs! And also placed something at the stadium where Nathan has arranged to meet with Baddie Bad Guy. (It’s a gun.) This totally makes sense, because only Baddie Bad Guys know how to figure out who someone’s facebook friends are. The CIA would never be monitoring Nathan’s closest friend in an effort to find and protect Nathan again. Fake IDs can be easily manufactured in a short time period, cell phone calls and texts are never hacked, especially not when you are being specifically targeted by the CIA. And teenagers can totally easily sneak guns into stadiums, no problem! The whole thing is just so stupid. At one point somebody makes a comment that Nathan is surely his father’s son, because of how resourceful and skilled he seems to be. So, to anyone who’s ever trained to be good at anything, it’s just too bad your parents weren’t good at it. If they had finely honed skills you’d have inherited them at birth. Training, schmaining!
They go to the stadium. Karen’s job is to take pictures on her cell phone? Nathan and Baddie Bad Guy have a chat. Baddie gets the gun that was taped under Nathan’s seat, because he’s had more experience and maybe some actual training. Is this the part where Nathan finds out/remembers that his mom was killed? By Baddie Bad Guy? That’s what the reoccurring dream was about. The veil he watches her die through is a bedskirt. He’s hiding under the bed and she gives him her gas mask while the room is pumped with poison. Aww.
No time for sentiment! Nathan needs to show off his parkour skills. I mean, he needs to run away from Baddie Bad Guy. And, lure him outside? That’s what his Spy Dad tells him to do. What, his dad? Yeah, he calls him or something. And says that Nathan needs to trust him. Nathan’s forgotten about the whole “trust needs to be earned, said the woman I thought was my mom” thing, or maybe he’s realized that he’s been trusting no-one this whole time and it hasn’t exactly worked out for him, or maybe he’s just run out of things to slide down and wall-kick off of, but in any case he does lead Baddie Bad Guy outside the stadium. And Spy Dad takes him out. Nice shooting, from the mysterious shadows at the last second while the music swelled!
Turns out the main CIA Guy was on the list of double-crossers, so he’s had an ulterior motive all this time. Oh, snap! Spy Dad, on the phone with some other CIA guy, says they have to “let ’em go. He’s family.” In reference to Nathan. Because clearly that’s a good idea. He’s still in high school, and more or less orphaned, because even Spy Dad admits “Nathan, I’m your father, but I’ll never be your dad.” So I don’t know what kind of stability this kid can be expected to have.
Oh, wait, Doctor Shrink will take him in. Yeah, she didn’t really die in that giant SUV explosion. “How’re you doing with all this?” she asks, putting a hand on his shoulder. “You okay?”
“Yeah. I’m fine,” he replies, and I snort out loud and can’t decide if this line was meant ironically or not. Doctor Shrink continues, “and Nathan–about a certain young lady, I was wrong. You should hold on to her.”
“Yeah,” says Nathan, because he starts all his sentences that way, “she’s worth it.” And with that, it’s time for Nathan and Karen to go off and be alone where they can make out again. Karen tells Doctor Shrink “Don’t worry, I won’t keep him out too late,” and the newly minted legal guardian just lets them go, and that’s how you know his real mom really is dead, and the CIA doesn’t train their operatives in how to parent. First his fake mom let him shut the door when he had a girl over, now his second pseudo-mom lets him go off with his girlfriend without a curfew and without even knowing what address he’ll be coming home to! His house blew up, remember? He killed a guy and threw him off a train, snuck a gun into a stadium, broke a bunch of crap, ran away from the CIA multiple times, and he’s not the least bit in trouble?! Not even let’s-sit-down-and-have-a-serious-discussion-about-the-consequences-of-your-actions in trouble? I guess not, all because Spy Dad said “let ’em go. He’s family.” Or, just because it’s a movie, where there’s no such thing as limits or consequences for main characters.
And like every movie, this one has to end with the lead kissing the girl, so that’s what they do, sitting in the now-empty stadium. “Y’know what the problem was, back in 8th grade? I just wasn’t ready for you yet.” *kiss*, credits, finally this torturous film is over! I know I skipped and condensed some stuff, it’s because it was boring, and also I didn’t want to put in any more effort than I already had. I mean it was a waste of my time to watch the stupid thing, and arguably more so to write this time-consuming recap. I hope somebody appreciates reading it.