Director: John Singleton
Starring: Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Jason Isaac, Signourney Weaver, Maria Bello, Michael Nyqvist
Written by: Shawn Christensen
Running Time: 106 mins
Original UK Cert: 12A
Original UK Release: 28th September 2011
Once upon a time there was a film director named John Singleton, who made a debut film that was provocative, powerful and showed enormous promise. That film was Boyz N The Hood. Some years down the line and that once potential director has found himself making lame, by-the-book Hollywood fare that is neither inspiring, provocative or, for that matter, very interesting. A perfect example is this limp, so-called thriller whose sole existence is to give its leading man a vehicle other than being a werewolf.
Nathan is a troubled young man. He has bad nightmares about a woman, he has anger management problems and his father seems to want to toughen him up for some reason. He is also besotted by his neighbour, Karen. One night, forced to work together on a school assignment, they discover a website about missing children and Nathan’s photo pops up. Not sure what that means, he soon finds himself on the run as his home is destroyed and someone wants him dead. But who can he trust?
So what we have is a serviceable thriller with very little in real thrills, hardly any surprises and lots of running away. Singleton does nothing remotely interesting to at least bring the whole mess alive, just pointing the camera at the action and allowing it to happen. The problem with that is, nothing really happens that we haven’t seen before. This is Bourne meets Little Nikita meets a dozen other films about true identity.
Riding on the success of the Twilight films, this is an opportunity for werewolf Jacob, Taylor Lautner, to break free and become a star in his own right. However, forgetting about the looks and the bulging muscles for one moment, his acting skills are fairly limited. A barrier if you are elected to carry a film. So the one clever thing that Singleton has done is surround him with seasoned, highly respected character actors who can do the acting for him.
Jason Isaacs and Maria Bello play his father and mother but aren’t given enough screen time. When they do appear, the film lifts and having Isaacs pushing Lautner to the limits is one of the very few highpoints. Sigourney Weaver pops up as his psychiatrist who also doubles as an “angel” while Alfred Molina plays the “is he the good-guy or the bad guy” CIA agent. Even having Lily Collins as the love interest helps Lautner’s case, although she has had less screen experience than him, he makes her look like Meryl Streep.
So what we have is a lazy film that does nothing to the thriller genre, just goes along its merry path to its predictable finale, while its star coasts along with it, hoping that he will be able to make those important movies like his Twilight co-stars, Robert Pattison and Kristen Stewart, have successful managed to achieve. Sadly, Taylor, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
If you are a fan of Lautner, you will lap this up. If you are a fan of Singleton, you will scratch your head, wondering where did it all go wrong. I hate it when a talent is wasted. John Singleton is just that. A wasted talent. Such a shame.
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