The word “parkour” is french and defined as “the activity or sport of moving rapidly through an area, typically in an urban environment, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, and climbing.”
Parkour became more popular through the 1990s and the 2000s. Yes, there are people who do these crazy stunts for a living. While it’s clearly a physically demanding activity, parkour takes its toll more on the mental aspect of certain individuals. In order for a person to be successful at parkour, one must view the world at a different perspective or on a different level. Quick decision making is absolutely critical and is the most important element of parkour.
When you examine a very tall building from the outside and are afraid of heights (like myself), what do you immediately think of? For me personally, I would think something like, Gosh I’m sure glad I don’t have to clean the outside of those windows! Being afraid of heights is not an option here. For parkour fans, this cannot be an issue. These people view the world as their playground in that there is nothing their body can’t overcome, with no obstacle too difficult for them. As I said, split decision making is crucial when taking parkour seriously and can be the difference between life and death.
Whether you’ve noticed it or not, parkour has been used in the film industry quite frequently. In fact, there’s probably plenty of films you may have seen where the actors or their stunt doubles used the sport of parkour to their advantage. I recently watched the film called Tracers, which starred actor Taylor Lautner. While not a great film by any means, the entertainment came from its epic chase scenes in which the characters used parkour to evade some high-flying sticky situations. The film boasted plenty of eye candy for those who are fans of parkour. Check out a clip from the movie below!
After watching this film, I could not help but think of a few others that come to mind where parkour was used heavily. Below you'll find three scenes from films where the art of parkour was a central element:
1. Yamakasi (2001)
This scene shows parkour being put to the test. There’s plenty of climbing going on as well as jumping over buildings, the actors firmly landing themselves on the ground. The scary thing is that this is all too real, but people do this stuff for a living. It’s fascinating to watch but you’ll never see me try stunts like these!
2. Casino Royale (2006)
Here’s another gripping example of parkour being put into action. We see Daniel Craig starring in his first Bond film having to chase a man through a construction site in Madagascar. This scene gets really intense as we notice the bomb-maker named Mollaka try to escape Bond by climbing an unfinished structure, as well as jumping from one crane to the next. Don't look down, James!
3. Rumble in the Bronx (1995)
Perhaps the king of parkour is none other than Jackie Chan himself. Talk about a guy who loves doing his own dangerous stunts. In the clip above we see Jackie Chan doing his thing: running through the streets while avoiding his enemies, climbing walls, jumping over cars, etc. You name the stunt, Jackie Chan probably performed it in one of his films. Other movies of his that stick out include the Rush Hour films, both Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights, as well as him playing the Drunken Master. Those movies have some amazing choreography and we have Jackie Chan himself to thank for that.
In my opinion, Jackie Chan is and always will be the quintessential master of parkour. He is also a major influence towards people who wish to give parkour a try. While I am not here to promote the use of parkour by any means, you have to admit that Jackie Chan makes parkour look like so much fun. He makes it look easy, but there’s no doubt that he’s a very gifted individual.
So this bodes the question, “Are you a fan of parkour or dare I say have you ever tried or attempted such a feat?” Also, what other types of films have you seen the art of parkour being put to use? Please share your thoughts and comment below!