Tracers

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Director: Daniel Benmayor

Starring: Taylor Lautner, Marie Avgeropoulos, Adam Rayner, Rafi Gavron

Rating: 3.5/5

Length: 120 minutes

Opening: Now showing

Plot: A character-driven action drama set in the dangerous and nimble world of parkour (a holistic training discipline using movement developed from military obstacle course training).  Cam (Lautner) is barely scraping by and trying to pay off his debts. He crashes his bike into Nikki (Avgeropoulos), a complicated stranger caught up in a gang of street criminals who seduces him into her dangerous world. The parkour takes him to places he has never been before and lands him a lucrative job under the gang’s leader, Miller (Rayner). At some point, he decides that he needs to extricate himself from the gang. This becomes a challenge that could cost him his life.

Director Benmayor intertwines his fascination with parkour and his love for action drama in Tracers. The storyline is very much similar to the Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist — an orphaned young man is forced, at a very early age, to fend for himself. The difference is the means that he uses to make ends meet.

Frustrated with his meagre earnings as a bike messenger, Cam decides to join Nikki and her friends in their “transport” business not knowing what they are using their skills for. However, desperate times calls for desperate measures, and Cam caves in and even becomes one of the best “parkourists” in the team. However, things turn sour when he is caught in a love triangle that eventually leads him to be detained by the police. At this point, the plot thickens and Miller’s true colours are revealed.

New York City is the backdrop of this movie. The characters are seen dealing with some social and economic issues that are rampant in the Metropolitan area. Tracers finds Lautner breaking away from his Jacob Black (the werewolf) character in Twilight and really vested in this action-packed, athletic-type character.  Avgeropoulos is the rose among the thorns in the film but fits into the ensemble perfectly. She carries her weight, plays her role well, and is also the reason for the twist in the plot. Rayner plays a strong character and performs well in the flick. Meanwhile, Gavron is a parkour practitioner and an actor. While he doesn’t have much screen time, he excells in all the parkour action shots.

There are two scenes that are gasp-worthy. One is when Miller’s true identity and intentions are revealed and the other is the final scene when the audience gets to see who the character Chen is. The name is continuously mentioned in the dialogue and while it is easy to assume the obvious, it is still a shocker.

Watch Tracers if your taste in entertainment is in leaps from structures to buildings, stunts and action.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on February 5, 2015.