HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:80
Bike messengers have to really watch out in New York City. The place is a sardine can full of crazy drivers that live on the edge of near misses. If you’ve ever been to the big apple, then you’ve watched in horror as someone has almost been run over on an hourly basis. Add to the fact that you have young people on bikes whizzing in and out of traffic at breakneck speeds and it’s a logistical nightmare that somehow seems to work. “Premium Rush” did a similar tale as “Tracers”, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the lead running from a dirty cop on his bike. Tricking and twisting around the streets created a fun and unique little action movie. “Tracers” tries to amp it up a bit and our hero evolves from bikes to full hardcore Parkour moves. Instead of being a fun little action movie, the whole thing just leaves us with an empty feeling of blasé boredom.
Cam (Taylor Laughtner) is barely making ends meet in New York City as a bike messenger. He’s having a hard time making rent to his landlord as he owes everything to a Chinese loan shark. Frustrated and not getting enough money, he’s desperate to try anything. Anything turns out to be something that’s right up his alley as he’s introduced to Nikki (Marie Avgeropoulos), a Parkour participating thrill junkie. Fascinated with the intricacies of the sport, he wheedles his way into their little group. Hopping around the city as much as he can, Cam picks up the athletic art in no time, which brings him to the attention to their little group leader, Miller (Adam Raynor). Seeing potential in Cam, Miller brings him into their little operation. Acting as high flying messenger boys, they get jobs done for any client that requires getting in and out quickly.
Soon Cam is making more money and is able to start paying down his debt. A romance is formed between himself and Nikki, but then things start going sour. Jobs start turning more and more dangerous, with more and more damage being done in the process. To top it off Cam finds out that Nikki is indebted to Miller a bit more than just professionally. Miller’s seedy side soon comes to the surface and our hero has to decide just what side he’s on.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=44833[/img]I gave “Tracers” a chance mainly for the parkour. Taylor Laughtner isn’t exactly the greatest of actors, and his last leading man role made it clear that he was about as wooden as a board in his performance. His main attraction in the film is that he’s a VERY physical guy. Growing up a martial artist and gymnast he has a natural body and the skills to make a decent action hero. “Tracers” was a pet project for him and not only did he do 99% of his own stunts, but he learned Parkour and practiced for months and months in preparation for the role. As a physical person it was pretty easy to pick up, but I’ve seen better parkour before. I give him props for learning it, but the camera work was ridiculously herky jerky and then at other times it would hold steady at the wrong time, showing how slow some of the stunts actually were in order to maintain form.
The movie had potential as a big dumb action movie. I mean, who really looks at an Arnold movie for good acting? However, the lack of writing and just plain inconsequential actions of the main character leaves the viewer bored and uninterested in the fate of the people on screen. Nothing is done to really engage the person into caring. Things just happen in the movie to move the paper thin plot along and had there been more action, or something more interesting happening I might have forgiven the lack of plot. Add that to the fact that Taylor Laughtner CAN NOT ACT in any way shape or form, and it becomes the perfect trifecta of a bad action movie. The only redeeming factor of the movie is that there are actually some pretty cool parkour stunts displayed on screen. Unfortunately they’ve all been done better in “District B-13” with David Bell, so unless you’re hungry for new material, I wouldn’t put too much faith in the movie.
Rated PG-13 on appeal for some intense violence, perilous action, sexual content and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=44841[/img]Even if the movie isn’t the greatest, Lionsgate has pulled out all the stops once again with the video encode. Shot on Red Epic cameras, the image is about as squeaky clean as you can expect, and the amount of detail show on screen is just short of perfect, despite the use of shaky came used to track the parkour participants. Color grading is actually rather interesting, as the film switched from blue to yellow tinged shots that seem to have no apparent rhyme or reason until you look close. Each scene will have its own grading, but will alternate between the two colors like a leapfrog progression. The image is sharp and well defined, giving us more than enough fine detail in close ups and the wide cityscapes of Manhattan look equally as impressive. Black levels retain good shadow detail and don’t appear to suffer from crush or greying blacks. The same can be said for compression issues, as I couldn’t see any whatsoever. Excellent all the way around.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=44849[/img]Just like the video encode, Lionsgate’s efforts on the audio are equally impressive. Given a 5.1 DTS-HD MA track, the disc sounds as if you’re in the middle of the busy city with Cameron. The all 5 main channels are alive with little details, from the sounds of feet clattering across a car roof, or the scrape of feet sliding down a railing or the hustle and bustle of big city life with all the crazy traffic. Everything surrounds and immerses the listener into a 360 degree sound field that really brings the movie to life. Bass response is excellent, tight and powerful. The movie isn’t full of “Transformers” type bass, but the LFE channel is constantly active and when it goes deep, it goes DEEEP and loud. Clarity of vocals is spot on, and the dialog is never out of balance with the rest of the track. I was surprised that an action movie like this was given only a 5.1 track, while “Mortdecai”, a movie that was less surround intensive, was given the 7.1 treatment. It would have seemed that “Tracers” would have benefited from the extra 2 channels just a tad more.
• he Art of Motion: The Making of "Tracers"
• Director's Pitch Reel
“Tracers” isn’t a horrible movie that leaves you screaming in anguish, but it does leave you feeling empty and bored at the end of the road. An action movie with not enough action, and too little intelligence to be described as introspective. It gets the job done, but then again, working at McDonalds gets you paid, but really doesn’t leave you feeling fulfilled. The audio and video are the one thing that IS done right on the disc, and if you’re a fan of parkour you might want to give it a spin, otherwise I would skip it.
Starring: Taylor Lautner, Marie Avgeropoulos, Adam Rayner
Directed by: Daniel Benmayor
Written by: Leslie Bohem, Matt Johnson
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 93 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 12th 2015
Buy Tracers On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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