Freerunner (2011) – Review

3 Stars

Freerunner is Fast and Furious without the cars (more like Tokyo Drift). A straightforward actioner with little twists or turns and absolutely no fat (well there is one guy). A group of freerunners compete in races where one contestant must cross the finish line carrying three flags in order to win. Bets are placed on a website and viewers watch over the Internet and on phones. All completely illegal of course, and running from the cops is a usual part of the race. Ryan has been competing for awhile, and needs a win to pull his life together. His idea is to cheat and bet on himself. Other runners don’t make it easy though, as elbows and jump-kicks often fly on the raceway. These guys aren’t just masters of parkour, they’re freaking ninjas!

Just as he’s in the lead the rug is pulled out from under him and all the freerunners as they suddenly find themselves in a race not just for money, but their lives. Collared with explosives the first one to the finish line wins a million dollars and their life, all others will perish. Parts Crank, District B13 and Battle Royale / The Condemned this movie takes the action movie cliches in stride and delivers a fun ride that never bores. It’s an action film’s answer to dance movies (ok that’s the last movie comparison).

Originality isn’t something you’ll find here, but Freerunners is so easy to watch it doesn’t matter. Matthew Chadwick, Raimund Huber and Jeremy Sklar’s script was painted with broad strokes making it simple to discern the good guys from the bad. Sean Faris (Never Back Down) makes a good leading man as Ryan. He’s likable and easy to root for. There’s more fighting in this than you’d think, and of course everyone knows how to hold their own. To my original comment about them being ninjas, at one point Ryan has a bounty on his head and the guys from his gym come after him (also parkour masters) and they have gold face masks on (they look like they belong to The Foot from Ninja Turtles). These guys come on as quickly as he dispatches them with flying kicks and throwing them into walls.

Director Lawrence Silverstein does a good job of filming the races and catching the excitement of all the flipping around. The French made District B13 is still one of the best parkour type stunt movies out there, and Freerunners is no serious competition even with co-star World Champion Freerunner Ryan Doyle.

Freerunners hits all the expected marks for a movie like this, doesn’t disappoint and the freerunning is neat to watch. Check it out if you like low budget actioners.

Director: Lawrence Silverstein
Stars: Sean Faris, Danny Dyer, Ryan Doyle

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