Griffin Conlogue ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
District 13 was an incredible French action film. By no means was it an instant classic or an important piece of cinema, but it was fun, action-packed, and featured amazing stunt work from stars David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli.
Though the English language remake imports French parkour star David Belle to star alongside the late Paul Walker, the film mostly falls flat and disappoints. A dumb and typical action film that takes itself too seriously, Brick Mansions leaves a bad taste in the mouth for Paul Walker fans, as this was the last film he finished before his death late last year.
The film takes place in a future Detroit, where the city is separated between the nicer area and ghettos known as Brick Mansions. The ghettos are walled off from the rest of the city and the criminal and drug-addicted residents are not allowed to travel into regular Detroit. The film’s story follows Damien Collier (Paul Walker), a cop, and Lino Dupree (David Belle), a criminal, who enter the Brick Mansions to stop drug kingpin Tremaine Alexander (RZA) from destroying all of Detroit.
Fans of the original will be familiarized with the plot from the first scene to the last, with very little being changed in the story. The conclusion is the same. The first scene is nearly a shot for shot remake of opening in the original. The fight scenes are nearly the same as well. Only trivial plot points are changed, and because of this it is a predictable mess.
One of the highlights of the original film was the insane parkour talents highlighted by David Belle in the film. The editing in the remake is so choppy and fast that it detracts away from the quality and skill of his performance. Paul Walker’s ability isn’t as impressive as Belle’s, but because this is built for American audiences, much of the screen time is given to him. The poorly written film could have been a fun ride, but was disappointing due to the uneven editing and storytelling.
The film did have its strong points, however. The fight scenes were high-energy and made for a good experience amidst the weak plot. The film is simple, under 90 minutes, and features a pair of attractive leads. This is no Citizen Kane, but is still a fun film that most people can go to and expect to have a few “oohs” and “ahs” from the stunts, and probably a handful of laughs at the goofy dialogue and overacted performances.
Overall Grade: C+