The world of parkour (created by David Belle) invaded the U.S. when Sébastien Foucan’s character used it in a chase sequence to escape James Bond in Casino Royale. Until then, it was flying under the radar as the main means of action in Luc Besson’s District B13. It then was used to varying degrees of entertainment — even if in small bursts — in films from Tony Jaa’s The Protector and Ong Bak to The Bourne Ultimatum, Supremacy, and Live Free or Die Hard. Even a cold opening of The Office featured the cast doing their own version of parkour with hilarious results.
Using your body, surroundings, and momentum to propel yourself from point A to B as efficiently as possible usually makes for some spectacular action sequences. So it was only a matter of time before a movie tried to focus on the art of the act, and be filmed in 3D. Unfortunately, it also came in the form of the new “thriller” Run, on Blu-ray 3D January 14. Writer/director Simone Bartesaghi has cobbled together what can only be summed up as a Step Up rip-off infused with enough dubstep to give you a nosebleed or jump out of a window. Filled to the brim with actors who have no idea what they’re doing in front of the camera, it makes parkour look way more simple than it really is.
As for the story, Bartesaghi — along with co-writer Joseph Michael Lagana — plunge us into the nomadic world of teenager Daniel (William Moseley) and his father Mike (Adrian Pasdar). Together, they move from city to city, with Daniel looting local jewelry stores. Turns out, Mike has kept them on the move after the death of his wife who was shot and then died giving birth to Daniel. The time has come for Mike to make peace with the death of his wife, and he moves them back to New York City to face his ex-brother-in-law Jeremiah (Eric Roberts). Meanwhile at his new school Daniel makes friends who also love parkour, even if at first he pretends he doesn’t know what it is. But soon enough, a fire at the local hangout forces Daniel to use his skills to save a friend, and it isn’t long before the past catches up with them, putting Mike, Daniel, and Daniel’s hopeful-girlfriend Emily’s (Kelsey Chow) lives in danger.
While Run may be filled with mediocre action scenes, at least Millennium Entertainment brings it to life with an exceptional 3D presentation. With both the 3D and 2D versions on a 50GB disc, you wouldn’t think the quality would take a hit in either dimension. Unfortunately, the 2D is a mess. As for the 3D, depth extends far into your screen with characters leaping, bounding, or walking in their own space, never looking like popup-book characters. Blacks are dark and inky, never giving way to crush. Banding and noise never rear their heads. But on the 2D side, things look atrocious. Anomalies prevail from the first shot, with noise, banding, aliasing, motion blur, and even jutter make for an abysmal viewing experience. A fireball even looks like molten lava spewing from a window during an explosion. Run was filmed in 3D and if you’re going to bother with the movie, never watch it in 2D.
As for the audio, the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track makes the dubstep as low-end-hitting as you can bear. The music gets the most use out of the surrounds, and while I can’t stand the style of Tree Adams’ dubstep score, fans will want to crank things up fo sho yo. English and Spanish subtitles are available. The only special feature is “The Making of Run,” running a quick five minutes, featuring the cast and crew talking about their experience making the movie. They all sound like they had way more fun in the production than you’ll ever have watching it. Pre-menu trailers are attached for Parkland, Ninja II, Charlie Countryman, and Hell Baby.
If you’re looking for a movie that features slow motion shots of hot girls walking in front of the camera, lame references to the Spider-man films, and fatherly advice in the form of: “Don’t trust people because they might hurt you, don’t trust them because they will,” then Run is right up your alley. While it may feature an exemplary 3D presentation, the wooden acting and horrible storytelling only further dumb down the action. Not even teens will find any reason to purchase this, and 3D owners would never think twice about the title to begin with. Run is direct-to-video filmmaking at its corniest.