By: John M Jerva
STARRING: Scott Adkins, Andy On, Truong Ngoc Anh and Lily Ji
DIRECTED BY: Ernie Barbarish
OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: Quinn (Scott Adkins), a member of a SWAT unit, steps out of a park fountain in an Asian city with no recollection of who he is or where he came from. As he pieces together clues from his past, he vaguely recalls his young daughter, who has been kidnapped. Meanwhile, Connor (Andy On), a former military operative turned gangster-for-hire, discovers that his wife has also disappeared mysteriously in the middle of the night. These two men, with little in common, realize they must work together to find their loved ones and thwart their mysterious abductors.
A series of extraordinary events and dangerous encounters ensue as Quinn and Connor set out on their trek. They discover that aliens live among us, preying on humankind and that the abductions are part of a centuries-long plot. With the help of a local psychiatrist and an eccentric scientist, the two men resolve to take on this merciless, unknown force bent on destroying the human race.
THE REVIEW: With the last few years, action star Scott Adkins has reallly excelertated his A game working with director Jesse V. Johnson and turning out some pretty gritty and highly dramatic action films like Avengement, The Debt Collector, and Savage Dog. Adkins has really proven to the masses that he is much more than just an on screen fighter delivering some of his best performances to date and with his newest vehicle, the just released Sci-Fi action flick Abduction, Adkins decides to have a little fun this time in a film that is silly in nature but loaded with some spectacular fight sequences. Although his performance isn’t of the caliber as his other recent films, he still gets to stretch himself and show us another side we haven’t seen before. Adkins is reunited with international action phenom Andy On from Black Mask 2: City of Masks. Abduction is the kind of tongue planted firmly in cheek film that you would see on a Saturday night on the SYFY channel with a plot that is over the top, characters that are larger than life and CGI that will make you cringe. This isn’t a nail in the coffin though as director Ernie Barbarash works with what he is dealt and utilizes his action team to their fullest potential. If you leave your brain at the door, then Abduction will certainly entertain for its 97 minute running time.
As the flm opens, our hero Quinn (Adkins) wakes up in a rather unusual setting to find himself in an assembly line of prisoners who are being implanted with robotic spider looking devices. Quinn is lucky enouth though and gets out before he is hooked up. Upon investigating the facility, Quinn discovers a room full of more unlucky people who are caged and one of them is his own daughter Lilly. After fighting off a host of mind controlled thugs in a fight sequence that only Adkins can deliver, our protagonist is unfortunately kicked out a window and plummets to a river below.
If that wasn’t strange enough, Quinn then wakes to find himself in a fountain in Vietnam off all places where is is disoriented, has no memory and contains a rather uncomfortable stutter. To make matters worse, time has jumped from 1985 to 2018 in the blink of an eye. This situation offers up some comic relief as Quinn tries to find out what the hell is going on but only scareshte people around him with his stutter and ticks. At the same time, we are introduced to Conner (On) who is an ex soldier now gangster who is looking to get out of his violent lifestyle and start a new, peaceful existence with his wife Maya. After doing one last job for his employer Master Tran, Connor makes the decision to leave but it is short lived as his wife myseriously disappears without a trace. Now, Quinn and Conner must join forces with the help of a local Vietnamese psychiatrist played by Truong Ngoc Anh to find out what is going on and who is behind all this madness.
On the surface, Abduction could definitely be forgotten as soon as it is viewed but Adkins and On refuse to let that happen. The film is loaded with one absurd plot element after another with inter-dimensional beings, time travel, robotic spider mind control and bone crunching mrtial arts action all loaded into one gloriously what did I just watch film. After all, when you see infamous film producer Roger Corman in the credits, then you know that you’re in for a wild ride. Adkins and On know what kind of film this is so they give it their all and that means a series of full throttle action sequences that were created by Tim Man himself. Man, who has worked with Adkins several times in the past, puts his stamp of approval on the action, delivering one epic fight after another. Man is one of the genre’s top fight and action coordinators and he once again makes something out of nothing.
The cast all do a great job with what they got and seeing iconic 90’s action staple Aki Aleong in a small role is just icing on the cake. Truy Sat’s Truong Ngoc Anh serves up a nice supporting role as the psychiatrist who helps our heroes and even though she doesn’t get in on any of the fighting, she still makes her presence felt and becomes crucial to the plot. One cool addition to the film is co-producer and casting director Mr. Mike Leeder himself who makes a camaeo as The Cleaner. He is creepy and ominous in the film and word has it that he broke his sternum in one of the film’s fight sequences so a tip of the hat to you sir. Lily Ji does what she can with her role as Maya but is eventually just a damsel in distress role with not much else to offer. Andrew Ng does shine for his limited screen time as a thug who is in cohorts with the unknown beings. Veteran on screen fighter Brahim Chab (Boyka: Undisputed) plays double duty too as a Russinan henchman and one of the beings and he gets to mix it up with both Adkins and On.
Abduction suffers the most with a limited budget and like I said, the CGI is awful and distacting but it is what it is and if you can look past the shoddy muzzle flashes and CGI blood then you will hace a great time. Thankfully, most of the action is of the close quarters hand to hand variety and this is where the film excels. The highlight being a one on one match between Adkins and On that is a showstopper. When you don’t have a budget then use you strengths and Barbarash and crew do that exactly focusing on giving the fans what they want.
All in all, Abduction won’t win any awards but it is another solid entry in Adkins’ cadre of films and he shows us once again that he can elevate any movie that he is in and make it better. Reuniting him with his Black Mask 2: City of Masks co-star Andy On was a stroke of genious and the two make a formidable action duo and lets hope that the two will work again in the future. There’s nothing new here and the plot is absurd but it doesn’t matter when you have these two gentlemen kicking ass for the film’s running time. At the end of the day, Abduction plays to its strengths and knows what it is and that’s a wild, sci-fi action film with rousing fight sequences.
VERDICT: 3.5 Out of 5 Stars and ACTION-FLIX APPROVED!
Abduction is now available on VOD and Digital and is playing in select cinemas