Has the world been clamoring for a movie about parkour or freerunning, an acrobatic style of moving through areas densely populated with obstacles? There is no doubt that since its inception in France, the FreeRunning movement has been gaining traction in some urban markets--but can you really make a movie about it? Or perhaps the better question is, should you? Whatever the answer may be, we've got "Freerunner." I'm going to be particularly blunt in my evaluation of "Freerunner" as a movie. With amateur theatrics, nonsensical plotting, blatant errors in continuity and timing, and head-scratching dialogue--the movie is a bizarre disaster. Feel free to call me names now. But with some well choreographed sequences, does it achieve what it set out to do? Probably. I doubt anyone here really thought they were serving up a new classic, they were only interested in showcasing Freerunning as a phenomenon. As such, certain action segments are quite successful.
The movie's so-called plot revolves around an established group of racing freerunners fronted by a low-level hood. Sean Faris, playing an idealist hoping to establish his new life, bets everything on what he hopes will be his last race. The movie begins as the race progresses with jumping, fighting, and general mayhem. But things take a sinister turn. I actually would not reveal the plot development that transforms the movie at the 30 minute mark--it is the film's biggest moment. But any surprise has already been destroyed by the film's marketing, product description, and DVD cover. So, I'll be vague and say that the race turns into a scramble for life itself as unscrupulous billionaires hijack the proceedings for inhuman sport. The rest is a fairly entertaining, fairly brainless race to the finish. Who will survive?
Here's the real deal, though. I'm not sure if I think "Freerunner" is just bad or if it is gloriously and brilliantly bad catapulting it to a whole other level worthy of respect. It really does border on being a possible camp classic. Here are some highlights:
Good choreography--racing and fighting
Faris' awkward narration about friendship that opens and closes the movie
Rebecca da Costa's brutally wooden performance as Faris' girlfriend
The most ridiculous batch of billionaires imaginable
Rules of game consistently change--you can be driven to a checkpoint in a freerunning competition?
Pretty much the entire script and all dialogue. Six people share credit for the screenplay!
So Bad, It's Good:
They sell the car, but da Costa is driving it several minutes later.
With 20 minutes left to the race, they want to put henchmen on Faris. Next scene (with no time elapsed), he automatically has people chasing him.
Danny Dyer as the primary villain, always a delight
Pretty much the entire script and all dialogue. I repeat, six people!
I have no doubt some people will think "Freerunner" is the worst movie of the year, and with good cause. But is there brilliance to the badness? I'm still not sure. If you think the movie sounds terrible, stay far away--nothing in the actual film will change your mind. If you don't particularly care about logic or acting or screenwriting, but just like action--this may meet your needs. And if you love bad movie mayhem, this may also be worth your investment. KGHarris, 10/11.