J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Abduction: Scott Adkins & Andy On Fight Aliens


If you thought Communist monuments were creepy before, wait till you visit this “victory” park in Vietnam. It is not just militaristic propaganda, it serves as a portal for a sinister race of interdimensional aliens. They have kidnapped Scott Adkins’ daughter and Andy On’s wife. Not surprisingly, the action stars damn-well want their loved ones back in Ernie Barbarash’s Abduction, which opens today in Los Angeles.

When we meet Quinn, he is literally in a world of hurt. While he is fighting off drones controlled by a race of cloak-wearing alien overlords, while his daughter Lucy is trapped in a cage, wearing a lethal choker around her neck. Defenestrated by the aliens’ telekinetic powers, Quinn suddenly finds himself surfacing in the Vietnamese Victory fountain. After a few run ins with cops and doctors, Quinn discovers thirty-two years passed on Earth while he was struggling in the extra-dimensional realm.

Dr. Anna is probably the most compassionate physician on staff at the Vietnamese Belleview, but she still assumes Quinn is delusional, for obvious reasons. Then she has a chance encounter with Connor Wu. The expat American freelance hitman is slightly disappointed in the crime syndicate he was working for, because they kidnapped his wife Maya to sell to the aliens, because of some rare genetic code in her DNA. Obviously, Dr. Anna figures these two need to get together—and action fans will not disagree.

Granted, the quality of Abduction’s visual effects is unfortunate, but Tim Man’s fight choreography is as serious as a two-by-four to the side of your head. Barbarash expertly showcases the action chops of his two stars, Adkins and On, playing Quinn and Wu, respectively. Adkins also stretches a bit, going for some fish-out-of-water comedy in the first half, with mixed results. However, On really brings the seething heat as the guilt-ridden and deeply ticked-off Wu, like an alien-fighting John Wick, without the dog.

Truong Ngoc Anh (a.k.a. TNA) also has some interesting moments, especially during the wild third act, but this is definitely a manly beat-down kind of film. Believe it or not, screenwriter Mike MacLean’s Strieber-esque alien abduction material has a few interesting twists (but the SFX work admittedly does not do them any favors). Regardless, the reason to see the film is the martial arts spectacle put on by the stars and the first-class stunt team. You know its legit when both Adkins and the legendary Roger Corman are on-board as executive producers. Recommended as a surprisingly dark but highly enjoyable B-movie, Abduction opens today (6/7) at the Laemmle Playhouse 7.

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