Monday, May 18, 2015

Tracers Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
When Cam (Lautner), a New York City bicycle messenger in debt to an organized crime gang, crashes his bike into a sexy stranger, Nikki (Avgeropoulos), it seems his luck may be changing. She introduces Cam to her crew - a team who uses parkour to pull off heists. Hoping to alleviate his debt, he quickly joins. As the stakes get higher with more dangerous side ventures, the payouts get bigger.  Cam must use every ounce of his skill to stay alive as the crew's heists grow ever more bold and mob enforcers breathe relentlessly down his neck. 
Film (2 out of 5 stars)
Cam (Taylor Lautner) is a bike messenger in New York City who collides (literally) with a young woman named Nikki (Marie Avgeropoulos). It’s unclear if Nikki is running from someone or just for fun but she is clearly skilled at parkour. Cam’s bike is wrecked and Nikki runs off in a flash. Cam can’t make rent and is behind on payments to a loan shark. With no bike, he is asleep the next day when his boss calls asking if he’s coming to work. Cam’s boss lets him know that a new bike is waiting for him, courtesy of Cam’s new friend Nikki. Cam tracks her down to see thank you and is impressed by her athletic abilities.

Cam scores an invitation to run with Nikki’s friends. Although he is in good shape, Cam quickly learns that he’s not ready to hang with Nikki’s crew. It’s obvious that they are into something lucrative and Cam wants in. The crew is led by a man named Miller (Adam Rayner). Miller isn’t quick to trust Cam and recognizes that they are both interested in the same girl.

Yet again, I found myself in the situation where I've agreed to review a movie assuming that it must be good if they bothered to release it on Blu-ray. I’m not a fan of Taylor Lautner but I’m always up for a good action/suspense flick. If I had only been offered a DVD I would have passed based on the fact that Lautner is the only person I’ve heard of in the cast. There’s always the possibility that a bunch of amazing undiscovered actors are about to get their break but it’s pretty unlikely. Still, I tried to keep an open mind while watching the film.

The story, unfortunately, follows the exact arc that you’d expect. Cam is the good kid that makes bad decisions. Nikki is the love interest/bad girl who is in over her head. Also, everyone runs around jumping off things. While the story doesn’t excite, the running around is pretty impressive. Lautner provides one of the least interesting performances to date in this film. But the kid sure can run and jump! The film showcases the athletic ability of its star very well showing that he did in fact do his own stunts. The characters aren’t compelling and the tension never becomes gripping, but the stunts are impressive.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
Lionsgate Provides an AVC encoded 1080p transfer with a 2.40:1 ratio. As the bikes and runners race by the film remains sharp and detailed. There is much intentional shaky camera work. Different sections of the film offer specific background hues in changing colors. Close ups provide excellent detail in facial hair, sweat and clothing texture. Skin tones are even and accurate throughout.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
Tracers' DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio presentation offers an immersive big city soundscape. The weight of the crowded busy city is easily felt. The sound effects in this film are footsteps, landings and other physical elements that have appropriate timing and depth. Dialogue is clear and intelligible in the audio track with no major flaws.
Extras (2 out of 5 stars)
The Tracers Blu-ray contains far less content than I expected with only the following special features:

  • The Art of Motion: The Making of Tracers – A featurette focused on the film’s action and preparation with Director Daniel Benmayor, Stunt Coordinator Gary Powell and actors Taylor Lautner, Adam Raynor and Rafi Gavron.
  • Director’s Pitch Reel – Just under two and a half minutes with Director Daniel Benmayor’s parkour sequence. 
  • Trailers 
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
Tracers should be commended for its bicycle and parkour action sequences. Taylor Lautner pulls off some very impressive stunt work. The acting and story just didn't work for me. The film never managed to muster any true suspense that didn't involve whether or not someone was about to fall. If you don’t mind Lautner as an actor and don’t have high expectations it’s worth a rental, but certainly not one to purchase.

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