Tracers - Parkour: The Movie

Matthew Parkinson | 22 Mar 2015 12:00
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Directed by Daniel Benmayor. Produced by D. Scott Lumpkin, Marty Bowen, and Wyck Godfrey. Written by Kevin Lund, Leslie Bohem, Matt Johnson, and T.J. Scott. Release date: March 20, 2015.

The last time anyone tried to make Taylor Lautner the lead in an action movie, it turned out so poorly that outside of the contractually obligated Twilight movies and a small role in Grown Ups 2, Lautner didn't act in any other movies. Now he returns to lead Tracers, a movie in which he teams up with a bunch of parkour enthusiasts. Why is it called "Tracers"? Because the word for "one who does parkour" is "traceur." There's a fun fact for you.

Cam (Lautner) is a bike courier in New York City, which might have you instantly flashing back to Premium Rush, if only because that's about the only movie about a bike messenger that's been released in the last decade. Seriously, outside of that and Quicksilver, what other bike messenger movies are there? Anyway, Cam's bike gets trashed when some traceurs cause a car accident, so he decides that they'd be fun people to hang out with. As it turns out, they also pull off incredibly daring heists with their parkour skills, and since Cam conveniently owes a great deal of money to people to whom one should not owe money, everything looks like it'll work out if he joins their gang.

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If it sounds like a relatively generic heist movie, just with more focus on people running, jumping, and climbing than planning, that's because it basically is. As it turns out, that's a pretty decent way to go about it, as when Tracers is focused on parkour, then it succeeds. It's when the film slows down and tries to focus on its characters and plot - none of which are worth exploring in any great detail - that it falls apart.

Here's the thing about Taylor Lautner: As a physical actor, he's just fine. He's got the right look, and he does the majority of his own stunts, which allows for him to work in a role like this, where the greatest focus is on elaborate chase scenes set on the rooftops, streets, and hallways of New York City. When we have to watch him try to make us believe he's in love with Nikki (Marie Avgeropoulos), another member of the gang, he's incredibly bad.

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