Tracers (2015) (DVD review).

November 17, 2015 | By | Reply More

‘Parkour’ is a term we will not readily recognise but once informed most instantly know what it’s all about, that being the discipline of running over obstacles, in particular, in an urban environment. Employing great skill, aficionados of this art seemingly with effortless ease scale up walls, jump down steps and take massive leaps and somersaults through the air oblivious to the hard concrete and metal getting in their way. They are like super-heroes, doing death-defying stunts similar to Batman and Robin, all without safety devices and crash helmets. Now a movie has been made about them, not a documentary but a drama set in the streets of New York City.

TracersDVD

The story is centred around young bike messenger, Cam,, (Taylor Lautner), who is definitely down on his luck. He is in debt to loan sharks, Triad gangsters, in fact, doesn’t seem to have parents, is living in a garage and can hardly afford to eat. To make matters worse, he crashes his bike in an accident with a mysterious stranger, Nikki (Marie Avgeropoulos), as it turns out to be, and can’t work as a result, making him totally destitute. Fortunately, this stranger is kind enough to give him a new bicycle which eventually initiates contact between Cam and a bunch of parkour freaks hanging about in the city somewhere down at the docks.

Attracted to Nikki, he gives parkour a go and soon becomes quite proficient. Enters Miller (Adam Rayner), a somewhat shady older man who seems to be in control of the group. It’s quite obvious that he is up to no good, especially when getting the gang to carry out more and more dangerous escapades all for the sake of money. With no cash of his own, Cam sees this as a way of clearing his debt and doesn’t realise he is getting more and more drawn into a nefarious and illegal activity. Despite that, he shrugs aside the truth, especially when developing a relationship with Nikki but she in turn seems to be under the power of Miller and this begins a love triangle which was always going to be difficult to resolve.

The main aspect to this movie is not really the story. Frankly, that’s a bit twee and something the viewer will be able to work out quite quickly, long before the action finishes. It’s the amazing feats of agility displayed by the young people as they carry out their escapades that captures the imagination. a subject which, once seen, will probably not be repeated in further movies, it has a limited exposure potential. Once the audience has seen one lot of parkour ploys, it will probably be enough to satisfy their curiosity unless something with a completely different and unique angle is invented. In this movie, the action is quite intense and breathtaking, so much so that you are left gripping the edge of your seat. The story, unfortunately, while okay, doesn’t leave you overly enthusiastic. It’s basically a teenage movie with simplistic storylines and, with a 12 rating, you’re not going to get anything over the top. It all seems a bit tame and dated, this despite the modern theme it uses.

Maybe a warning should have been issued with the movie, especially for younger people, in that trying to carry out the leaps and bounds seen in the action may result in broken bones or even worse. However, there are other parkour media events and probably most people will be aware of the possible dangers. People of my age wouldn’t do it in a million years but maybe some 12-year-old, thinking he’s cool, could attempt to leap down steps and jump over the side of a building. You never know!

This isn’t Science Fiction, it’s not Batman, but it does display human resources taken to extreme limits, much in the way as super-heroes perform in comics. This is a movie which will probably be an identifying stamp of the sport and, as said, not many other movies of the same ilk will be made. The feats are real, not staged, and they are exciting to watch. It’s a pity about the story but, despite this, it is still a movie to be recommended.

Rod MacDonald

November 2015

(Region 2 DVD: pub: Entertainment One. 1 DVD 90 minute film. Price: £ 5.00 (UK) ASIN: B00STK2U5Q)

cast: Taylor Lautner, Marie Avgeropoulos, Rafi Gavron, Adam Rayner and Sam Medina

check out website: http://entertainmentone.com/films

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