Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Tracers: Taylor Lautner Jumps and Climbs
attention children. Taylor Lautner will demonstrate why you should stay in
school. He is a bike messenger who keeps losing his bicycle. That is a shame,
because he owes a lot of money to a loan shark. Most unfortunately, he did not
borrow enough to save his dying mother’s house, so he is now practically homeless
and on the hook for the principle and the fast compounding vig. This poor kid
is so dumb, the shadowy leader of a gang of parkour thieves figures he might as
well start exploiting him too in Daniel Benmayor’s Tracers (trailer
which opens this Friday in New York.
the sullen bike messenger, needs all the runs he can get. He owes big time to
the Chinatown mob and he is behind on his rent to the single mother, whose
garage he is crashing in (maybe he has a room as well, but he never seems to
use it). Unfortunately, his livelihood gets irreparably banged up when he
swerves to avoid Nikki, a parkour chick falling out of the sky. Naturally, he
responds to this crisis by obsessively watching parkour videos on his smart
has no interest in a loser like him (and neither do we), but she feels guilty
enough to drop off a new set of two-wheels for him at the messenger center.
Logically, he has that one stolen out from under him when he sets off in search
of her. After a few beatings administered his loan officer’s thugs, Cam manages
to talk his way into Nikki’s gang. Her colleagues are pretty impressed, considering
he developed some mean parkour skills in about twenty minutes. Miller, the
mastermind, also sees a sucker he can use. However, Cam is always causing
trouble, pestering him for dough and making swoony eyes at Nikki, who is stuck
being Miller’s woman, whether she likes it or not.
everyone in this line has to cover a Taylor Lautner film, so it might as well
be something as innocuous as Tracers.
Essentially, it starts out trying to be the old Kevin Bacon vehicle Quicksilver and then attempts to morph
into a parkour thriller in the tradition of the Luc Besson produced B13 franchise. Sadly, it lacks the
catchy 1980s soundtrack of the former and the pedal-to-the-metal energy of the
latter. Even though parkour is the reason for Tracers’ being, the action is just sort of okay. To give an
example, at one point Benmayor prominently frames the Empire State Building,
getting our hopes up that the film will finally go for it like Remo Williams at
the Statue of Liberty—but no, it’s just there for background color.
is hard to really see why Lautner has a movie career from Tracers. He exhibits absolutely no charisma, but to be fair, he
seems inoffensive and mostly rather polite. As Nikki, Marie Avgeropoulos is
blandly attractive in much the same way. There are other members of the gang,
but they hardly merit individual names. They just run, jump, and die, when
necessary. On the other hand, Adam Rayner makes a reasonably competent lead villain
as Miller and Johnny M. Wu serves as a relatively entertaining supporting
villain as Jerry the loan shark.
Somehow Benmayor managed to find all the gritty,
post-industrial riverfront locations left in New York. He has a decent eye for
urban blight, but he lets the teeny-boppish melodrama intrude too much on the
action. Nevertheless, the film ends with a surprisingly satisfying turn of
events, but calling it a “twist” would be too strong a term. In all honesty, Tracers just isn’t worth your movie
ticket dollars. Parkour fans are much better off revisiting the B13 movies, but it might suit the needs
of DirecTV subscribers who want to turn off their brains and zone out in front
of something harmless. Regardless, it opens theatrically this Friday (3/20) in
New York, at the AMC Empire.
Labels: Parkour, Taylor Lautner