There are three things you need to know about the movie Run:
The first thing is that Run has the the single greatest Netflix summary in history. You probably think I am exaggerating for emphasis. I assure you I am not. Here, look:
A father and son who make a living by using parkour to pull off robberies decide to go straight, but not before they attempt one last job.
Parkour. A father and son use parkour to pull off robberies. And they’re going straight after one last job. Which is another parkour robbery. Yes. Put this movie — the one that sentence describes — directly into my veins.
Unfortunately, the second thing you need to know about the movie Run is that its Netflix description is a lie. Actually, no. “Lie” is a little strong. Let’s go with “misleading in unforgivable ways.” You probably read it and pictured, like, an expert parkour thief and his precocious son robbing museums and doing lots of flipsies and twisties in the process. Or an expert parkour thief and his wise old parkour master father working together one last time before the father retires for good, possibly because he met a sassy grandma-type who wants him to move to Florida with her. I am sad to report that neither of those are correct. The father doesn’t even do parkour. It’s bullsh*t.
The third thing you need to know about the movie Run is that there is there is so much parkour in it. There is. So. Much. Parkour in this movie. If I were to ballpark it, I’d say that at least 20 minutes of the film’s 90 minute runtime is just people silently doing parkour, often for no plot-based reason. And that doesn’t count the speeches about the joys and/or merits of parkour, of which there are at least three. Again: There is so much parkour in this movie.
But there’s also a plot. Kind of. Allow me to explain.
Quick background: Daniel Lombardi is a teenage parkour prodigy. His father is a career criminal who was injured years ago in a gunfire-related attack that also killed his mother. Now, Daniel and his father bounce around from city to city, with his father planning robberies and Daniel using his parkour skills to parkour into jewelry stores and away from the police and such. That’s what they meant by “A father and son who make a living by using parkour to pull off robberies.” See? Technically accurate. Just very, very misleading.
But anyway, after the heat gets a little too hot, they up and leave for New York in the middle of the night, despite his father claiming they’d never go back because that’s where all the bad juju with the bullets went down. It’s almost like there’s an unsettled conflict back there that may or not drive the entire second and third act of the film.
On Daniel’s first day at his new high school in New York (because you really can’t waste time on plot development when there are still four separate parkour montages to get to), the dude up there in the Angry Birds hoodie, whose character is named “Mark Baltimore,” comes parkouring through the bathroom window while Daniel’s in there. Turns out he’d been ditching class. Or something. Whatever. What’s important is that Daniel covered for him and now they’re BFF and Mark introduced him to his friends, who are A PARKOUR TEAM!
Daniel can’t let on that he knows parkour, for crime-related reasons, so he has to play dumb while they’re all doing twistyflips and flippytwists and delivering their monologues about what parkour “is” and “means” and “feels like.” That’s the team up there. I call the guy on the right Parkour Rufio.
Things are going great for Daniel.
But then there’s a fire! At their secret parkour hideout! Which they had been hoping to renovate with the winnings from an upcoming parkour tournament! That they’ve been practicing for! Because, in addition to being a “one last job” movie, it’s also a “Let’s save the rec center!” movie.
AND MARK BALTIMORE IS STUCK IN THERE.
So Daniel is forced to abandon his parkour-rube cover and parkour his way into the building and parkour Mark to safety. You would think, maybe, after this happens, that everyone would get very suspicious of him for lying about his skills for so long, even though he had no apparent reason to. You would be wrong, mostly.
In fact, not only is Mark Baltimore not suspicious of Daniel (who is actually going by “Sean” at this new school, because secrets), he instead (a) starts a slow clap for him in the hallway of the school the next day, and (b) demands that Daniel go on a date with his sister, Emily Baltimore, who Daniel has been making googly eyes at for the entire movie to this point. And do I mean that he demands it, because he doesn’t even ask Emily. He just says “I’m gonna give you what you’ve been dreaming of ever since we met: a date with my sister.” Like he’s her pimp or something. It’s so weird. And it’s even weirder because he did it immediately after interrupting and poo-pooing Emily’s VERY LEGITIMATE line of questioning about how and why Daniel hid his parkour skills from his parkour-loving friends on the parkour team, which made her the only character in the movie to do so.
Anyway, guess what Daniel and Emily do for their date. Guess.
PARKOUR DATE! EMILY IS A PARKOUR EXPERT, TOO! OBVIOUSLY!
It’s just dawning on me that I’m 1000 words into this review and I somehow haven’t informed you that Eric Roberts plays the bad guy in this movie, or that he’s a wine-swilling crime boss, or that he’s Daniel’s dead mom’s brother and he blames Daniel dad for her death. Although, really, you should have just assumed most of that. According to his IMDB page, Eric Roberts made 43 different credited appearances in 2013, the year Run was released. It’s more surprising if you’re watching a crappy movie and Eric Roberts isn’t playing a bad guy with an ax to grind.
(Quick digression: If we’re being sticklers here, Eric Roberts isn’t really the bad guy. The bad guy is his number two, Luke, who was actually the one responsible for Daniel’s mom’s death, and who will eventually kill Eric Roberts’s character and take over the crime organization, briefly. So… spoilers?)
And while I’m on the topic of things I forgot to mention, at one point Daniel’s father says this, which is a fun little bit of air-to-sea metaphor-mixing magic: “See love’s a funny bird, man. A bird that doesn’t fly straight… makes you do funny things, like bring somebody into a world they have no idea how to swim in.”
I have read that quote 10 times and I have yet to figure out exactly what it means. Why would they be able to swim in one world but not another? And why does a bird flying all crooked make you dump someone in a world with different rules and conditions related to swimming? Are you the bird? Are you drunk? Are you kidnapping someone and taking them to a wave pool? Because you saw a bird flying around in a serpentine manner in the sky? Is that what’s happening here?
Yeah, I got nothing. Best movie ever.
Okay, I am going to zip through the next 30 minutes or so of screen time in one paragraph, for the sake of efficiency. Buckle in:
Saving Mark Baltimore from the fire resulted in a news story about Daniel/Sean being a hero, which brought publicity, which blew their cover. Long story short: Eric Roberts (whose character’s name is Jeremiah, but whatever) sends Luke and some goons to pick them up, and Daniel’s father and Emily Baltimore get kidnapped and held in the warehouse that serves as the criminal organization’s headquarters. Also, Daniel’s real past comes out at school and all his parkour friends get pissed and a security guard tries to catch him and… you know what? It’s really not important. All you need to know is that Daniel and Mark Baltimore make up after Emily gets kidnapped and they decide to storm the warehouse to get her back. And, as you can see above, they parkour their way there. Naturally.
A few things about their warehouse-storming operation:
- The warehouse is gratuitously, hilariously foggy. I assume this was an attempt to ramp up the drama and suspense, but it looks like someone was testing out a fog machine for a rave and the thing broke and got stuck on high for hours. And no one comments on it. It’s the middle of a sunny day in New York City and the inside of this warehouse is foggier than London at night in a cartoon.
- Speaking of cartoons, the clowns holding Emily are beautiful caricatures of movie goons. At one point one says our heroes have five seconds to come out and surrender, and his count to five takes literally 15 full seconds. I counted.
- How do Daniel and Mark Baltimore defeat the gun-toting career criminals? Why, with parkour, of course. Have you been paying attention to this review at all?
- After saving his sister, Mark goes to hug her and totally grabs her boob, as pictured above. Sup, I’m 11 years old.
Then they find Luke — who, again, has just killed Eric Roberts and taken over the organization, and is still holding Daniel’s father — and parkour kick/push/tackle him down an empty elevator shaft and he dies, and everyone parkours happily ever after. THE END.
Two final notes in closing. First of all, that picture up there is the movie’s box cover. It features a silhouette parkouring over the New York skyline, which, p.s., is a gun now. And the tagline is “Fear nothing. Overcome everything.” But if you’ve got nothing to fear, then what is even left to overco-… nah. Never mind. Gonna let that one slide.
Second, if you were wondering if the Member Reviews on the movie’s Netflix page devolved into a pissing match about whether the athletic feats depicted in the movie were or were not technically “parkour,” then brother, I have great news for you.
This is actually a better movie than FreeRunner(Story), but I have to agree with some of the other reviews. This is not Parkour. There was way too many unnecessary moves. The movie description should have said, Tracing(Tracer being the kind of ambiguous name give to Parkour Practisers and FreeRunners both) If not just used FreeRunning.
Interesting. Perhaps another reviewer can explain.
3 stars is pushing it a little. First, get the description right. They are not parkouring, they are free-running. Free-running has all the unnecessary flips & dance moves, parkour doesn’t.
More. I demand more. And angrier.
Cliche and overused themes. Acting was substandard. Parkour wasn’t parkour. Most of the people who gave it high reviews obviously don’t respect the discipline enough to shun this kind of slandering.
Beautiful. But even with that reviewer’s willingness to throw around words like “discipline” and “slander,” I’d have to say this next one is my favorite.
To me, this is a cross between gymnastics, Kung Fu, and break dancing. Although it is weak compared to all three. If you wanted to impress me leave out the movie, and just make a standard obstacle course that increases in difficulty as it goes on, and measure the time and distance athletes can go. Make it an Olympic event, an X-game or whatever you want to. But don’t revolve some cheesy movie around it. Instead of gratuitous flipping and spinning in the air, show me how those moves could actually be necessary by designing a course that demands it to successfully navigate it, kind of like a ninja warrior (the Japanese show) variant. I am impressed by the athleticism, but I have always considered running and flipping useless. Incorporate it into a realistic setting that demands it, and I would be impressed.
“What I didn’t like about this movie that I went to the movie website to watch was that it was a movie and not the real, actual Olympics, which should feature parkour.”
I repeat: Best movie ever.