A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that two familiar young stars -- Taylor Lautner of Twilight fame and Marie Avgeropoulos of the hit CW show The 100 -- star in Tracers, a thriller about young parkouring thieves. Expect lots of gun violence (including deaths), threats, beatings, and armed robberies, as well as some drinking, passionate making out, and one sex scene (bare sides/backs visible), as well as a morally ambiguous message about earning and using "dirty money." Strong language isn't in every scene but does occasionally include expletives like "s--t," "a--hole," and one "f--k."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
TRACERS is part thriller, part love story about Cam (Taylor Lautner), a New York City bicycle messenger who owes Chinese loan sharks $15,000 and is really behind on his repayments. Out on a messenger run, Cam collides into Nikki (Marie Avgeropoulos), a beautiful woman doing parkour around the city. He tracks her down again, starts practicing parkour, and becomes so good that he's invited to join her crew as they practice. Cam's introduced to Miller (Adam Rayner), the group's leader -- and boss in petty crime. The crew, as Cam discovers, transports anything and everything like ninja thieves, so he gets in on the action in order to pay back his debt. But soon his feelings for Nikki -- and Miller's dangerous jobs -- make Cam uncomfortable about his new career in crime.
Is it any good?
There's not a whole lot to recommend this movie, though the frenetically paced parkour sequences are genuinely intriguing. While his former Twilight co-stars went on to specialize in independent films and award-nominated dramas, Lautner attempted to establish himself as an action star -- but so far none of the movies he's been in has been good enough for him to stay a Hollywood "it" boy ... including Tracers. The love story is pretty weak and predictable, and some of the other players were obviously hired for their parkour skills, not their acting ability.
Avgeropoulos is a standout here, just like she is on The 100. She's capable of seeming both fearless and sensitive, an interesting blend of Michelle Rodriguez' fierceness and Shailene Woodley's vulnerability. She, even more obviously than Lautner, seems destined for stardom in the world of action-adventure movies -- a genre that definitely needs more actresses who can handle stunts, fights, and romance. ButTracers isn't the best showcase of her -- or anyone's -- skills; by the third act, audiences won't care how Cam and Nikki are going to survive or what's going to happen to pretty much anyone.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Tracers. Did it surprise you? How does it compare to other action films? Do you think it was necessary to tell the story?
What's the movie's message about crime? Is Cam justified in what he does? How is he different than Miller, the crew boss?
Why do you think bike messengers and parkour practitioners put their lives in danger in high-density urban environments? What's in it for them? Does this movie glamorize their lifestyle?
- In theaters: March 20, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: May 12, 2015
- Cast: Taylor Lautner, Adam Rayner, Marie Avgeropoulos
- Director: Daniel Benmayor
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: on appeal for some intense violence, perilous action, sexual content and language
- Last updated: September 4, 2020
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