3 out of 10
Release Date: 21st May 2012 (DVD Premiere)
Director: Lawrence Silversten
Cast: Sean Faris, Rebecca De Costa, Danny Dyer, Tamer Hassan, Casey Durkin with Ryan Doyle and Seymour Cassell
Writer: Matthew Chadwick
The newest Danny Dyer (BASEMENT) and Tamer Hassan (JACK FALLS) film has arrived for appraisal at Britpic. This is always a cause of excitement between me and Joe Pesci II. I am a massive fan of Nick Love‘s The Business and I keep my fingers crossed that this dynamic duo will return with a diamond. Moss had already grown between said digits when Dead Man Running showed up, but that was ages ago and now the moss is back. My fingers remain crossed because Freerunner is hobbled from the start. Dyer has been cast as the big bad and is largely off-screen for the first half of the movie. Tamer Hassan is further down the criminal pecking order as the hustling leader of a betting ring that sees the locals place bets on a crew of freerunners. Freerunners are essentially athletes that can run acrobatically and jump across massive distances without the aid of wires, nets or spiked boots. Our lead Ryan (SEAN FARIS – NEVER BACK DOWN) wants to leave the city with his exotic chanteuse girlfriend, Chelsea (REBECCA DE COSTA) for a better life on the coast. Locked into the game by low pay and fixed odds the stakes are upped when Danny Dyer’s Mr Frank hijacks the last game of the season and puts explosive collars around Ryan and crews’ collective neck. They have sixty minutes to reach a certain destination or their collars will take their heads. F*ck!
Freerunner is essentially a mix of The Running Man and Battle Royale without either the budget, wit or flair of either. We’re told that the performers are actually played by some of the world’s best freerunners and that no wire work was used to assist them. No doubles were employed for any of the characters barring the lead, Sean Faris. Sadly the action has all the excitement of watching one of those Black Diamond titles that stitch together endless sequences of extreme sport derring-do. The cinematography doesn’t involve you in events, even the inclusion of POV cameras seem lacklustre. What we needed was some speedy editing and a music score with some OOMPH! The music from what I could tell was a string of Grunge-style Seattle Rock, each song played in it’s entirety montage style. No cuts or rhythm occur to coincide with the weak edits leaving the admittedly breath-taking stunts to flounder. I felt like a lot of effort on the part of the performers was wasted due to the lack of pace and the editing. The plot was very predictable but that’s not always paramount in this type of film. What is primo, is the need to thrill and keep the viewer on the edge of the seat. Sadly, Freerunners was a very flat experience.
It is livened up by a ripe performance by Danny Dyer as the high powered bookie. He fails to be scary or even vaguely threatening. He just comes across as a bit of a ‘silly billy’ with just about all of the films worst yet colourful lines tumbling out of his mouth “Jacques spent 15 years in a Dojo in Japan learning that grip and he’ll never tire of it.” Pity poor Jacques the henchman who gets to dress like Nick Fury from The Avengers and then gets pushed over and killed without getting to show off his legendary skills. Tamer Hassan is much “less bad”, we even get to see him dance like a robot at one point. But the story pretty much runs out of things for him to do as soon as his best bud, Dyer shows up to liven the film up (in the wrong way).
Freerunner could have gotten away with being a distinctly average action film if it weren’t for the really pongy Danny Dyer performance and the wasted and badly edited parkour scenes. I have to say that the highlights are topped by said Tamer Hassan boogie and a character burping down a telephone. Seymour Cassell (THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS) turns up in a baffling supporting role as Ryan’s bed-bound grandfather, who trades in perverted stories and is there to add some shade. Presumably, he took the role because he was able to lie on his back throughout. It’s not the worst ‘Danny Dyer Film’ by a long chalk but then this isn’t really praise is it….?
3 out of 10: It gets an extra point for the brave stunt work. Otherwise this is another reason to swerve Danny Dyer films like the plague. Mind you, he does die at end and I struggle to remember the last time he did that? The Trench? Goodbye Charlie Bright?? Crap SFX though, which also go so far as to prove that all the parkour was real. Shame Msrs Faris, Dyer and Hassan never had a stuntman to do their difficult bits…. The acting.
Review by Joe “so fast he leaves the house after Superman in the morning” Pesci II aka Matt Usher – see below
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT PERSON IN BEFORE?
- Sean Faris: Pawn, Stash House, Never Back Down
- Rebecca Da Costa: 7 Below
- Danny Dyer: Assassin (2014), Eastenders (TV), Vendetta, Run For Your Wife, Deviation, The Age Of Heroes, 7Lives, The Last Seven, Dead Cert, The Devil’s Playground, Malice In Wonderland, Pimp, Just For The Record, Dead Man Running, Jack Said, Doghouse, City Rats, Adulthood, Straightheads, Outlaw (2007), The Other Half, Severance, The Business, The Football Factory, Wasp (short), Borstal Boy, Mean Machine, High Heels and Low Lifes, Goodbye Charlie Bright, Greenfingers, The Trench, Human Traffic
- Tamer Hassan: Our Robot Overlords, Diamond Heist, The Double (2012), The Reverend (2012), The Hike, Kick Ass, Dead Man Running, The Last Seven, Jack Falls, Sucker Punch (2008), Goal III, City Rats, Cass, Eastern Promises, The Business, The Football Factory, The Calcium Kid
- Seymour Cassell: Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, The Royal Tenenbaums, Animal Factory, Black & White (1999), Rushmore, Trees Lounge, Dead Presidents, It Could Happen To You, Chasers, Boiling Point, Indecent Proposal, In The Soup, Mobsters, White Fang, Dick Tracy, Convoy, How To Kill a Chinese Bookie