Tracers Blu-ray Review
If we were to judge TRACERS simply on its technical, stunt, and action qualities alone, this would be a grand slam. The non-violent beginning to this movie opens upon multiple parkour enthusiasts and Cam (Lautner) jumping and twirling, like zoo animals through a playpen, in the cities of New York. It’s instantly eye catching. There are plenty of well executed action sequences, chases, and other oddballs when it comes to leaping from metal structure to metal structure in the concrete jungle. Outside of those compliments, it could have been an incredibly weak.
Cam is a bike messenger, in the same vein of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character in PREMIUM RUSH, but Cam isn’t a simple biking fanatic extraordinaire, he’s an athletic freak that could shame any military training course record. He’s not perfect at his artistic leaps and jumps though. He slams into a taxi cab that’s avoiding Nikki (Avgeropoulos). She is also seemingly slammed into the story as the unnecessary love interest.
She’s introduced so that Cam can be entangled with the main movie villain because she’s in a parkour gang, which is as odd as it sound. The gang lures Cam because, well, being a bike messenger doesn’t pay well. He’s in a massive amount of debt and simply delivering messages doesn’t quite help one keep up on the bills. So after helping out the gang, he’s soon wanted by the Chinese mafia and then in deep trouble with the parkour gang leader, Miller (Rayner). If there are any finer details, they’re not laid out very well or very clearly.
The plot is, at times, an absolute mess. The big criminal action sequence that creates the conflict with the mafia and Miller doesn’t come until much later in the movie. It’s difficult to understand why the action sequence shows up late to the plot party. By the time it happens, the movie should have been reaching its climax, and by the time the climax comes, it’s so hurried it feels like its skipped.
There’s also a couple of unnecessary characters in the script with the most glaring one being Nikki. I understand that it’s important to have a love interest in these kinds of movies, but Nikki is a poorly constructed character. She also likes parkour, but is later used, shamelessly, as a damsel in distress. It’s hard to fathom that concept considering she, like Cam, defies the laws of gravity.
Sometimes it’s difficult to find the right story that can sit patiently in between the elaborate action set pieces, but instead of waiting for the right moment, it never speaks up in TRACERS. It’s a wonderfully shot movie, with fantastic action sequences, that may have you wondering how in the world they did it without killing the hunky Taylor Lautner. He must have an impressive stunt crew or really did risk life and limb to make so many stupendous feats for the watchful cameras.
As for Lautner’s acting abilities, he’s fine, but there’s not much depth to his character. So it’s difficult to gauge if it’s the character of Cam or the actor Taylor that isn’t all that interesting. I’ll give Taylor the benefit of the doubt since so many other characters feel one-dimensional and wooden. The young talent featured in this may have been chosen for their impressive physical physique and overall attractiveness.
TRACERS moves quickly and in an entertaining fashion with its action, but a it’s little rusty on its storytelling capabilities. While it has the potential to go leaps and bounds, it stays at a stand still when it comes to plot. If you want a short, cheap thrill, TRACERS isn’t a bad distraction, but if you’re hoping to find something deeper, you’re out of luck.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) Regardless of many shaky cam moments, the picture quality on this blu-ray is crisp and clear. There are a lot of fine details for something that feels like it’s filmed on a simple handicam.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) It’s very difficult to capture the lossless sound of a busy downtown street, especially when it’s one of the largest cities in the world. TRACERS captures that sound perfectly on this well balanced soundtrack.
The Art of Motion: The Making of TRACERS (11:13): With how well shot a lot of the parkour is in this movie, this is a very interesting featurette. Very rarely do you see a feature highlight technical merits in such a clear and concise way.
Director’s Pitch Reel (2:25): This is a feature I have actually never come across before, but it is something I wish came on more movie features. It is a reel that the director used to help show the studios what kind of movie he wanted to make.