1.5 out of 10

Release Date: 17th March 2014 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Mark Cooper Harris

Cast: Mark Cooper Harris, Anna Nightengale, Honor Kneafsey, Deji LaRay, Preston Douglass, Blaine Gray, Rhea Bailey, Delvon Roe, Lita Lopez, Felix Ryan, Mark Dippolito, Nicole Dionne, Neil Large with Rita Ramnani and Kyle Summercorn

Writer: Mark Cooper Harris & Davie Fairbanks


MV5BMzY4MjA5MDcxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzkyNjY2OQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_In this ludicrous attempt to achieve the same later-life action man status as Liam Neeson did with the Taken trilogy, actor-director Mark Cooper Harris (OUTSIDE BET) finds new ways to show what a low-level ego can achieve when it goes unchecked.  Growing himself a tidy pile of small but effective turns at the low-budget end of the UK filmmaking pond, Mark Cooper Harris must have decided that it was time to step front and centre with this offensive and ill-researched non-thriller. He had already proven that he could act, escpecially in a very impressive supporting turn as Nick Nevern’s (youthful) dad in GBH and before Abducted he’d never had the outlet to show what he was capable of. If ever there was an example of an actor that should stick to small turns its this. He’s clearly overstretched himself here.

Mark Cooper Harris plays loving father and ex-military man, Matt Hollis. He’s become estranged from his wife after the death of his eldest child. He cries his way back into lives of his wife (ANNA NIGHTENGALE – VICTIM) and young daughter at length before convincing them to go on a reconcilliatory holiday to LA with him (or was it Miami, I’ve forgotten).  Little does he know that he’s booked a holiday home from an evil child-snatching syndicate and that they’re going to frame him for the murder and kidnap of his family.  The baddies and police forget to take into account his black-ops past as he quickly gives them all the slip to take revenge and restore his life and family to order.

Sounds solid enough doesn’t it? Well it isn’t. The script and plot is laden with long and preachy scenes of dialogue ripped from the Daily Mail delivered with the same vigour as a dodgy preacher man.  So full of ham and cheese is Harris’ performance that he renders any potential subtleties null and void. His supporting cast don;t get a look in as the sad scenes shuffle into one another. The action is cack-handed and the LA locations squandered so casually it may as well have been shot in aback garden in Dagenham. The American cast clearly know they’ve been duped into appearing in a non-event as they barely show up to offer suitable resistance to our anti-hero. When faced with the evil paedophiles they are subject to paragraphs of dialogue as to how bad they are. Any viewer already knows this, but the prolonged scenes of dialogue continue and so we begin to wonder what Danny Dyer may have been like in the main role.  Abducted contains the worst portrayal of drunkeness I’ve ever scene. There’s a scene in which Harris goes for broke and begins to shout drunkenly at God, whilst drinking vodka. It has to be seen to be believed. if this film was bigger this scene would surely be available to ‘laugh at’ on YouTube as a seperate entity.

Single scenes away from Harris appear to be ripped from a seperate film. One disturbing scene alone gets the message across single-handedly with the rest of the preachy scripts help. A young boy is co-herced gently into having sex with an evil movie exec is effectively upsetting and nails the tone. The rest of the film including a ridiculous shoot-out at a child-supermarket and a kidnap of two English girls getting forced into enslavement by fake Hollywood agents  is a huge waste of everybody’s time.

1.5 out of 10 – Bad acting, bad script and a very dozy plot betray a lack of research and a low-level actor’s ego gone crazy. It falls a long, long way short of it’s lofty ideals and shows what can happen to you if you live on a reading diet of The Sun and The Daily Mail.  Shockingly bad taste. On to bury.

Review by Joe Pesci II below.



One thought on “ABDUCTED

  1. ABDUCTED – review by Joe Pesci II aka Matt Usher

    Good grief this is shockingly bad. But first I must admit an unreasonable prejudice: child actors. In general I try to avoid them. So, this being a film about an abducted child, I was worried. I need not have been; in the event, the little girl acts everybody else off the screen. Mind you, this is not difficult to do. (And I’d like to know what her parents thought they were doing putting her in this sleazy tripe.)

    ABDUCTED stars Mark Cooper Harris, who also directs and produces, three jobs for which he has no aptitude. Although I have no objection (in theory) to vanity projects, well, in the acknowledgements Harris thanks God (yes, God). I’m not quite sure why, for if ever there was a God-forsaken film, this is it.

    Mark Cooper Harris stars as Matt Hollis. Let’s stop there and look at those names. Maybe the similarity in names indicates Harris’s close identification with his character or maybe it’s just a coincidence. Or maybe he’s just very dim and thought it’d be really clever. But to my eyes, it’s evidence of low-achievement egomania. And I should know.

    It opens reasonably promisingly. Our hero is trying to patch things up with his wife: their son died either one or three years ago (the script seems uncertain) and they are both haunted in different ways by the loss. At first it looks like the film might try to follow Harris/Hollis as he comes up with increasingly desperate ways of reviving their relationship, but then he just asks to come back and she says OK. Then it turns out that he’s a good boxer, so he tries to win a big boxing match. Surprisingly he wins. At this point the film has set out its stall quietly and unassumingly. It hasn’t been particularly engaging, but its downtrodden world is nicely sketched in. But with the prize fight winnings Mark-Matt, his wife and their little daughter go to LA. This is a big mistake for the characters in the film, and an even bigger one for the film-makers.

    Sadly their stay has been manipulated by a gang of child-abducting child-sellers. Sure enough, the moment Mark Harris-Hollis’s back is turned, in they pop, steal the little girl, and beat up Mrs Hollis /Harris. (The bad guys’ plan here is quite elaborate and you do wonder why they go to all this trouble when we already know that they had keys to the house. Never mind, that’s the least of the nonsense.)

    And then Mark Hollis returns. And the madness begins. As he cradles his wife’s battered body the police arrive. He karate kicks them to the floor and runs off, abandoning his wife to find the daughter he doesn’t yet know has been abducted. The film tries to justify this later as MarkMatt claims he panicked. But it’s just abysmal story-telling.

    So Matt Harris is a cockney on the run in LA. Fortunately for him he has a black American best friend who seems to turn up from out of the blue and they team up to dole out justice. In LA that means shooting paedophiles in the groin, and attending daylight child-slave auctions and killing everyone (not the kids obviously, though we never find out what happened to them as the film is only pretending to be about trading in children; it’s really about HarrisHollis shooting people). The best bit is HollisHarris’s cunning disguise: he dons a baseball cap and successfully infiltrates the police station where he is the number one most wanted.

    And the film has the gall to try to do bleak. Even the nice black guy gets killed (by a small child). And there’s a subplot involving two thick British teenage girls who get themselves sold into a life of prostitution by an evil black man. (there are a lot of evil black men in this film, and they all fare badly; but pity the bloke who has to shout threateningly at the little girl – I don’t think it was meant to be funny.) This has nothing to do with the main plot, and I think it’s meant to be there to make us think. But I’m not sure what about. The cynic in me wonders if it was the only way the film-makers could think of getting some pretty girls into the film unclothed.

    Actors often talk about acting using the ‘peeling an onion’ metaphor. Something like this happens in ABDUCTED. Firstly Matt/Mark Hollis/Harris is a bereaved estranged dad. Then he’s an ex-boxer. Then we find out he’s an ex-con. And a very violent man. And then a martial arts expert. And then a really good detective. It’s almost as if, at every stage, a new layer of the complex character appears. Or else, they’re just making it up as they go along.

    Whereas Cecily Fay gives a performance of blank immobility in her vanity project WARRIORESS, in this vanity project Mark/Matt Hollis/Harris gives a lively animated, uncontrolled performance utterly devoid of credibility. It’s not his fault that he has a Joe Pasquale squeak to his voice, but it does impede the intensity of the drama when your hero sounds like a cartoon duck. His drunken tirade against God is a masterclass in how not to do drunken acting. If only he hadn’t been directing himself his director might have been able to do something about it. Like hire a decent actor.

    ABDUCTED is horrible. Both in the sense that it is incredibly badly written/acted/directed and in its subject matter. There’s something particularly unsettling about watching an ego trip for a non-entity which tries to gain a bit of gravitas by dabbling in such serious topics as child abduction, illegal adoption, bereavement, redemption, rape and paedophilia (and the inevitable pregnant woman in mortal danger trope appears – with a twist!). But here they’re just a backdrop for some mindless and dull violence. It’s meant to make us think we’re watching something gritty when it’s really just a Bruce Willis wannabe’s fantasy.

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