Bullet Points: Tracers
If you are not a fan of Taylor Lautner and/or the Twilight movies you probably didn’t know that the movie Tracers existed.
If you are a fan of Taylor Lautner and/or the Twilight movies then this is most likely your first visit to Bulletproof Action.
For the benefit of our first timers let me tell you a little bit about Bulletproof Action. We strive to cover all aspects of action entertainment. We’ve covered movies from as far back as the 1960’s to present day 2015. We’ve covered movies from not only the United States but from all over the globe. We’ve covered action movie icons like Schwarzenegger, Stallone and Van Damme. We’ve covered the underrated action stars like Michael Dudikoff, Mark Dacascos and Lorenzo Lamas. We even cover those trying to break into the action game like Taylor Lautner.
- The Premise: Cam (Taylor Lautner) is a New York City bike messenger trying to pay off a $15,000 debt he owes the Chinese Mafia. On one of his deliveries he is introduced to the world of Parkour the hard way, when a cab swerves to avoid hitting a tracer (a practitioner of Parkour), Cam does not avoid hitting the cab, wrecking his bike and falling on top of the tracer in question, Nikki (Marie Avgeropoulos). Feeling bad about wrecking Cam’s bike, Nikki gets him a new one and soon Cam is looking for love but finds much more.
- Building the Empathy: Tracers pulls out all the stops so the audience can empathize with our hero Cam. We find out the reason he took out the loan from the Chinese Mafia was to avoid the bank foreclosing on his mother’s house. Unfortunately that plan didn’t work and the bank foreclosed the week before his mother died of an undisclosed illness. His mother’s dying wish was that Cam fix up his dad’s old muscle car and leave the mean streets of New York City… but since he owed so much money, the Chinese Mafia repossesses his car. On top of that, the woman that Cam was renting a room from evicts after her young son has an encounter with the criminals that Cam owes. All this bad luck does allow Lautner to do some serious brooding.
- Montage Alert: At this point in the review you may be asking yourself where the action is. Well, the action starts to pick up as Cam, as a means to getting closer to Nikki, starts practicing Parkour. This opens up the door for an action movie favorite… THE MONTAGE! We get to see Cam’s progression as he Parkours all over New York City. This attracts not only the attention of Nikki, but the crew she runs with that includes her older brother Dylan and two guys named Tate and Jax. Cam is asked to meet the crew at their hang out, an old abandoned ship in the harbor. But Cam soon learns that this is not just a group of Parkour practitioners.
- It’s Miller Time: A guy named Miller is the guru for the crew. This aspect of the movie gives it a little Point Break vibe. We learn that all the members of this crew have less than sparkling criminal records, including Cam. And we also learn that Miller is the man who sets up jobs allowing the team to use their skills to “transport” things. In other words, they steal. After an initiation test, Cam is officially brought in to the crew and starts doing jobs with them. The money is good and while it may not be the most ethical work, Cam does have a huge debt to pay off.
- In Too Deep: With every new job Miller sets up for the team the risk and the reward rise. The last two jobs the crew pulls open the door for the action to escalate and intensify. And it is the last two jobs of the movie (including robbing a Vietnamese Bank) where Tracers really earns its action classification. The mix of Parkour, guns and general mayhem is at its peak in the final act of the film.
The pacing of Tracers is probably my biggest complaint. There’s a lot of down time between action and as I mentioned earlier, the movie really hammers home all the trouble Cam has had in his life. It is borderline overkill. There’s a fine line between being the underdog or the guy who has hit rock bottom and his climbing his way back up and just being a plain old sad sack. There’s a reason Judd Hirsch was never an action star. Nobody is going to root for a sad sack. Had Tracers dialed back the drama just a bit and cranked up the action slightly, it would have made for a better movie in my opinion.
I am going to crank up the number of Bullet Points before I go…
- Fun Fact: A real life romance blossomed between Taylor Lautner and Marie Avgeropoulos on the set of Tracers. That relationship has since ended.
- Piso Mojado: Tracers features the most inventive use of a wet floor sign in cinematic history.
- We Must Beat Beat Street!: If Cannon were around today, I’m sure they would have beat Tracers to the Parkour punch and I imagine they’d have signed “The Prince of Parkour” Johnny Mundo to be the star! Hmmm…
- Rooftops: After Cam is evicted, he gets some tarps, fashions them into a tent and lives on a rooftop, similar to Jason Gedrick (who you may remember from Iron Eagle) in the movie Rooftops.
- French Class: Tracers is the English translation of the French traceur. A traceur is a practitioner of Parkour. In France, Nikki would be called a traceuse.
- Myth Buster: Contrary to some Internet rumors, Parkour was not invented by Ray Parkour Jr, most famous for the Ghostbusters theme and being sued by Huey Lewis.
- The Next Action Star?: Can Taylor Lautner have a long and successful career in the action genre? Time will tell. He has a good grasp on the physicality needed for action roles but it is going to be something he grows into. At this point he still looks extremely young (the fact that he’s 23 years old probably has something to do with that) so I don’t think the world is quite ready to believe him as a full blown action bad ass. I compare him to a young Matt Damon. I would not have guessed when I first saw Matt Damon in movies like School Ties and Good Will Hunting that he would one day have a successful action movie career but that happened. So I would not be surprised to see Lautner continue to dabble in the world of action movies as his career goes on.