John C. Reilly looks like a late breaking Academy Award player in the Trailer for "Stan & Ollie"                Brie Larson saves the day in the First Trailer for "Captain Marvel"                The Toronto International Film Festival boosts "Green Book" with its Top Prize                Updated Academy Award predictions for early September                "White Boy Rick" is a compelling character study and period piece                Taking a look at potential Best Supporting Actress contenders                Shane Black gives "The Predator" his signature clever spin                Venice Film Festival award winners include "The Favourite" and "Roma"                Taking a look at potential Best Supporting Actor contenders                Watch out for Ben Foster in Best Supporting Actor for "Leave No Trace"                "The Favourite" releases a new Trailer to build off of its positive festival buzz                "All About Nina" and "Fahrenheit 11/9": Films to look forward to in September                Trailer for "The Front Runner" and Buzz from Telluride suggest another Oscar player for Jason Reitman                Taking a look at potential Best Actress contenders                "First Man" launches a New Trailer after a soaring debut at the Venice Film Festival        

Why “Abduction” is worth seeing As a film critic, I’m not supposed to want to see this one. I’m supposed to recoil in horror and the genuinely bad acting on display in the two trailers from lead Taylor Lautner. I’m supposed to roll my eyes at the apparent cynicism that comes with giving this untested (as in ‘open it yourself’) actor several action franchises on the strength of a supporting role in a popular series.

After all, I’ve complained about the same circumstances in regards to Jeremy Renner. But come what may, the film itself looks like a glorious throwback to the trashy, borderline exploitative cheese ball action thrillers that went away at the beginning of the last decade. And I do miss this stuff with a passion. If someone other than Lautner were in the lead (or if the previews made it apparent that Lautner gave a better performance), I’d be rather jazzed to see it. Without a lead actor I can endorse, it’s still probably going to be worth seeing.

Even if we omit Lautner from the cast list, we still have a film that features (roll call…) Alfred Molina, Sigourney Weaver, Jason Isaacs, Maria Bello, and Michael Nyqvist (the jury is still out on Lily Collins as the token love-interest/probable third-act hostage). So we’ve got an all-star cast of character actors and B-level stars, just like the Paramount stuff from the 1990s. Plus, we’ve got one of the best action directors alive. John Singleton may be hit-and-miss in terms of the overall quality of his films, but he is one of the best American action directors currently working today.

The second-act shootout in Four Brothers was the best modern-day shootout of the last decade. The second act running gun battle in Shaft was pretty high on the list as well. And while it may be the silliest and most disposable of the franchise (though not the worst per-se), 2 Fast 2 Furious has some of the most impressive car chases and stunts this side of Fast Five. We can argue that it’s unfortunate that he no longer makes socially-relevant dramas about race and class, but his skills as an action director put him on a very short list alongside (or perhaps just below) James Cameron, Martin Campbell, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and John Woo. So at the very least we’ll be getting some high-quality action set-pieces from someone who knows how its done.

Photo by Bruce Talamon

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