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  Tracers The Running, Jumping And Standing Still FilmBuy this film here.
Year: 2015
Director: Daniel Benmayor
Stars: Taylor Lautner, Marie Avgeropoulos, Adam Rayner, Rafi Gavron, Luciano Acuna Jr, Josh Yadon, Johnny M. Wu, Sam Medina, Amirah Vann, Christian Steel, Wai Hing Cho, Chris Jackson, Sean Rahill, Andrew Elvis Miller, Doua Moua
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Cam (Taylor Lautner) is a cycle dispatch rider on the streets of New York who prides himself on his skill with his bike and ability to get his job done as quickly as possible, but there’s a reason for that, as he really needs the money. He is badly in debt to a Chinese loan shark, owing him fifteen hundred dollars, fighting to keep his head above water financially, and what doesn’t help that is when he is cycling across town when he suddenly sees a free runner, Nikki (Marie Avgeropoulos), heading straight for him. She is an exponent of parkour, which has the participant propelling themselves across rooftops and other parts of the urban landscape with great speed and athleticism but even they can make mistakes…

So we have our meet cute when Cam and Nikki collide, in the process bending the wheel of Cam’s bike, but the chance encounter means he now has a new interest in his life, and that’s not only getting close to Nikki. She has introduced him to the world of jumping around buildings, which was the movie’s big selling point, a novelty for action flicks as long as you hadn’t seen the other movies to feature parkour, such as the District 13 series. Director Daniel Benmayor pretty much went about this special feature as those eighties films had depicted breakdancing, so when Cam joins a gang who indulge in the modern sport, the sequences showing them doing their stuff were demonstration setpieces designed to have the audience in awe.

You have to assume that was the idea, and it was fair enough since the team who choreographed the similar scenes in Skyfall were all too aware just how cinematic this could look, and were on board to craft the action here too. The fact that, like breakdancing, this was not a skill everyone could perform, leaving most of us looking on impressed at the prowess on display, only rendered these scenes all the more notable, and were undoubtedly the highlights of what otherwise was a generic thriller with a serving of fromage for the dramatic bits. Cam has his troubles, so that loan shark operation is on his back and threatening the single mother (Amirah Vann) and her kid who have been good enough to allow him to stay with them now that his mother has passed away.

But even so, there’s only so much she can take and when the representative of the gangsters menaces her she regretfully throws Cam out of his garage abode – they take the vintage car he’s been working on too, just to add insult to injury. Ah, but our hero has an ace up his sleeve, his new super friends who have been tutoring him in the ways of parkour, much as a martial arts movie sees the young upstart receive lessons from the wiser teacher, in this case the leader of the jumpers, Miller (Adam Rayner), which ensures he is plunged into a remake of Point Break. No, not THAT remake of Point Break, but one which loosely adapted the structure and plot points to its own purpose – oh, Cam isn’t an undercover cop, so that’s completely different, obviously (but you knew what you were getting really).

It turns out our little gang of wall-leapers has a criminal side, and use their skills to carry off minor heists since they can escape from any situation with ease, so as Cam needs the extra cash now his bike has been ruined (actually more of a slight dent in the wheel he could easily have repaired – BUT NO SHUT UP IT’S RUINED OK?!!!) and the replacement Nikki generously offered him is stolen shortly after, propelling himself around the streets and houses sounds like a decent way to make some dosh. However, this moral lapse doesn’t necessarily make Taylor a bad boy, for he has the spirit of his deceased mother looking over him as his unseen conscience, and soon he realises this is no way to live his life. All very well, but it was clear the filmmakers didn’t want to shoot an extreme sports video and therefore hitched the action to the thriller wagon, which in effect bolstered the plot rather than the other way around. For what it was, a kinetic, easy to watch experience that may not stick in the mind, but was perfectly serviceable entertainment while it unfolded. Music by Lucas Vidal.

[Entertainment One's DVD has a making of and director's pitch reel as featurettes.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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