At first glance, the sport of parkour might seem like a frivolous urban activity. Moving from point A to point B while demonstrating finesse and creativity can appear silly and somewhat dangerous. But with the passage of time and more and more people becoming involved with parkour, this highly physical mode of travel has become not only popular but commonplace in the culture of society. The new action film Tracers uses parkour as one of its main plot motivators and though it may seem ridiculous at first, the sport takes a bit of a backseat to allow the energetic young cast to strut their stuff while engaging in parkour as a secondary feature. This film is a fast paced example of modern day action films that pack an occasional punch while remaining fun and imaginative, no matter how dizzying some of the scenes are.
Tracers focuses on Cam (Taylor Lautner), a street-smart New York City bike messenger who seems to be on perpetual thin ice. He owes money to the Chinese mafia and he is just scraping by financially. That is until he encounters Nikki (Marie Avgeropoulos), a sexy thief who is rather skilled in the art of parkour. Cam eventually links up with her and her crew, who pull off illegal jobs on a consistent basis. With money being tight and the Chinese mob after him, Cam decides to join the parkour enthusiasts and begins stealing and running all in the name of his very survival. Over the course of the film, we see Cam as not only is he pushed to the limit physically but emotionally as well.
Parkour isn’t a very conventional activity featured in film. Sure, there was that breathtaking opening sequence in Casino Royale but in Tracers, the sport plays more of a pivotal role. And hunky Taylor Lautner (Twilight, Abduction) and sexy tomboy Marie Avgeropoulos (The 100, 50/50) make sure to somewhat steal the spotlight from the sport. These two fog up the screen with their steamy chemistry and their inevitable on screen romance and while predictable and cliche, it is kind of fun to watch. Sadly though, their spark is a Hollywood-created creature that, at times, seems cheesy and downright corny. These two actors are hot, this is for sure, but other than their looks, they don’t really have much going for them. Well, maybe Avgeropoulos who has leading lady written all over her.
Adam Rayner (Closure, Love and Other Disasters) provides a touch of class as the ambiguous leader of the parkour thieves. His slightly menacing character will constantly keep you guessing throughout the picture. He definitely needs a better film, however, to showcase his acting skill more effectively. Praise should also be given to director Daniel Benmayor (Bruc, the Manhunt, Paintball) who shot the parkour scenes with keen eye and a rather strong enthusiasm. He is definitely the unsung hero of Tracers. Now, audiences will definitely see this film for heartthrob Lautner but they should see it for the remarkable stunts and action choreography because it is really out of this world. The film itself may have a paper thin plot but the athleticism portrayed is really rather amazing. That and young Avgeropoulos, who has nothing but a bright future ahead of her.