Thursday, 25 October 2012

Freerunner (2011)

Horrible, just horrible. Freerunner is, annoyingly, a half-decent premise surrounded by a complete turd of a movie. One or two decent stunts save it from being the worst of the worst but it's such a lazy, poorly executed film that I actually felt angry while watching it.

I don't know what's more unbelievable. The fact that I have continued to try to convince myself that one day the likes of Danny Dyer and Tamer Hassan will one day appear in another decent film or the fact that it took THREE writers to cobble together this nonsense.

Mind you, while the writing is bad it's almost par for the course for this kind of film - the emphasis is, at least, on the action. I'm not letting Matthew Chadwick, Jeremy Sklar and Raimond Huber completely off the hook but most of the blame should be passed on to director Lawrence Silverstein, who took a movie all about freerunning (a smooth and entertaining pursuit) and decided to let all of the action scenes look as if they had been filmed by a pack of dogs who just happened to be in the vicinity.

Tamer Hassan plays yet another onscreen hard man, Danny Dyer is a cocky arsehole and there are a bunch of freerunners who run about the city, snatching flags while people bet on the results. Sean Faris plays Ryan, a freerunner who wants out and decides that he will get someone to bet a LOT of money on his final race, allowing him to retire a rich man. For some reason, he sees happiness in his future with his girlfriend Chelsea (played, HORRIBLY, by Rebecca De Costa - I mean, seriously, I am tempted to start a Kickstarter campaign to just pay her off so that she never acts again). Unfortunately, that all goes to pot when the runners are all gassed and wake up to find that they have exploding necklaces on and must now race for something much more important than money. That's the plot, in a nutshell.

Taking a number of elements from a number of superior movies (off the top of my head I'll namecheck Wedlock, Battle Royale, The Tournament and District 13) and then draining them of all fun before throwing them to the bottom of a barrel that is then filled to the brim with excrement, Freerunner is a waste of time and it's more frustrating because it's not a complete waste of time. The core idea is sound, it's just developed so poorly.

It doesn't help that nobody onscreen appears to have gone to any actual acting classes. Hassan is in the movie for a very short amount of time so almost escapes unscathed . . . . until we get to his awful last scene. Dyer just gets worse and worse in every movie recently and I'm starting to get embarrassed for him. No doubt he would be a geezer about it and tell me not to shed any tears while he was quids in and having a good laugh but I spent more time than most people fighting his corner (based on his fun turns in Severance, Human Traffic, The Football Factory and even Mean Machine) and this is the last straw. I'll still end up watching his movies, to review them, but I'll always brace myself for the worst rather than hope for something better. Sean Faris is pretty bland, I already mentioned that Rebecca De Costa was awful and Casey Durkin is stuck with providing all of the exposition for those who weren't able to keep up with the complex plot. Oh, she also bares her breasts for a second to keep male viewers happy - it feels very much like a halfway "restore point" compared to how tough going the movie is. Ryan Doyle is a tough, win-at-all-costs, freerunner but he's just as bland as Faris. In fact, only Joe Zamora and Tony Vo stand amongst their fellow runners and gamblers while the much older Seymour Cassel shows everyone how acting SHOULD be in his short amount of screentime.

In case I haven't made myself clear enough, Freerunner is an awful film with awful camerawork, an awful script and awful acting. Could I do something better with a group of freerunners and my own camera? Get me the freerunners and the equipment and I'll show you. Hell, if the people involved in this movie can keep getting work then I don't see why I can't break in to the industry and easily make something better than this.


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