Or maybe they wanted to make something in the “Fast and the Furious” mold, but couldn’t afford cars, so they put all their chips, so to speak, in the cash registers of the local mall’s Finish Line.
Anyway, the handful of parkour enthusiasts here play games of Capture the Flag which are broadcast live via surveillance cameras and “eyecams” to every douche’s iPhone in the surrounding area who gather and cheer. The contestants all jump around like monkeys so much, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the parkour gang in “Punisher: War Zone.” And remember, audiences cheered when one of those guys exploded via rocket launcher.
That’s one big strike against the low-budget “Freerunner“: None of its supposed heroes are likable, not even lead Sean Faris (“Never Back Down”). Good thing they’re all tricked and kidnapped into playing a life-or-death game for the enjoyment of wealthy gamblers worldwide, à la the recent “BKO: Bangkok Knockout.” They have an hour to parkour their way through a designated route in the city or their heads will explode, by way of the GPS collars around their necks.
The game is run by Mr. Frank (Danny Dyer), who’s the kind of movie Swarthy Rich Guy who pays women with pierced nipples to hang around the office topless. If you think that’s a cliché, wait until you meet the character from Jersey, who is not only named Jersey, but exclaims “Bada-bing! Bada-bing!” several times for no discernible reason.
The “Gamer”/”Death Race” concept gives “Freerunner” an opportunity to go full-throttle on action, but so much of it is spoiled by shaky cam, you may wonder why you’re even bothering. It’s a fair question. After all, although this was lensed in Cleveland, it feels dubbed and foreign. Plus, it took six people to write this far-from-complex piece. That’s not a typo: six.
In the long run, “Freerunner” is 30 minutes of head-popping fun, with another hour to go. —Rod Lott