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Tracers: Taylor Lautner’s Attempts to Break into Action Films Hit Another Brick Wall

  • Adam RaynerMarie Avgeropoulos...
  • Action & AdventureThriller
  • Daniel Benmayor
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Tracers: Taylor Lautner’s Attempts to Break into Action Films Hit Another Brick Wall

Daniel Benmayor’s Tracers ­­- a Parkour-themed auctioneer sporting a surprisingly robed Taylor Lautner – is as average as average gets. Worked on by a legion of writers, the film attempts to deliver an action-crime thriller, but apart from a handful of impressive stunts, there is very little here to warrant a rousing and a memorable viewing experience.   

Set in and around the concrete jungle of New York City, Tracers follows the story of Cam (Lautner); a bike messenger who is barely making ends meet. Living in a garage and working hard to pay off enormous debts to a particularly unforgiving Chinese gang, Cam’s back is firmly against the wall, so to speak.  One afternoon, while zipping and flying through the bustling streets of the city, Cam ends up smashing and totalling his ride into stranger, Nikki (Avgeropoulus) and it’s love at first sight – well at least for Cam, eventually tracks her down before learning that his mystery crush is part of a Parkour-crime gang (what?!) who essentially work for hire.

Intrigued by their free spirit and impressive athleticism, Cam – whose strength and skill is quickly put to the test – soon joins the group.  However, it doesn’t take long for him to see that everything is, as is so often in these cases, not as it seems.

Tracers is probably best described as a blend of Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 surfer-themed action crime flick, Point Break – starring Keanu Reeves and the late Patrick Swayze – and Joseph Gordon Levitt’s 2012 bike messenger-centred, Premium Rush, minus the occasional hair-raising moments of former and the intensity of the latter. The stunt-work is pretty impressive, there’s a hell of a lot of running, climbing, swinging and rolling and we’ll assume that any Parkour fan out there will find enjoyment in the otherwise dull mix. However, it seems that too much of the production’s energies have been spent on the unconventional stunts at the expense of what ends up being a paper-thin plot, which translates into the classic style-over-substance snag.

Sporting a little bit more of a grittier and adult look than Twilight fans will be familiar with, Taylor Lautner – who manages to keep his shirt on for most of the film – does most of his own stunt work and as, far as his physical capabilities go, the young actor can’t be faulted.  But following his breakout role as a werewolf-morphing, buff charmer-come-creeper, something isn’t clicking as he tries to launch his career into the action world. He has the looks, enough of the right type of talent, the fan-base to break into the genre – as well as a martial-arts background –  but Tracers is another underwhelming endeavour for the twenty three year-old.

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Abduction (211), Premium Rush (2012), Freeruner (2011)"Traceur", English translation 'Tracer', is the French name for a practitioner of Parkour.

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The name of the film comes from the French word, traceur - which is the name given to Parkour practitioners.

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