Combustible Celluloid
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With: Paul Walker, David Belle, RZA, Gouchy Boy, Catalina Denis, Ayisha Issa, Carlo Rota, Andreas Apergis, Richard Zeman, Robert Maillet, Bruce Ramsay, Frank Fontaine, Chimwemwe Miller, Bradshaw Anderson, Ryan Trudeau
Written by: Luc Besson, Bibi Naceri
Directed by: Camille Delamarre
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for frenetic gunplay, violence and action throughout, language, sexual menace and drug material
Running Time: 90
Date: 04/25/2014

Brick Mansions (2014)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Bad Neighborhood

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In 2004, writer/producer Luc Besson created the terrific French-language action movie District B13, with David Belle as its amazing, Parkour-performing star. It was successful enough to warrant a sequel, District 13: Ultimatum (2010), and now comes the inevitable American remake. Unfortunately, as things often do, it sounded better in French.

In Detroit of 2018, the government has sealed off one dangerous neighborhood, Brick Mansions, to protect its citizens. Inside the district, the drug business, led by Tremaine (RZA), thrives. Lino (David Belle) uses his "Parkour" skills to try and stop Tremaine by intercepting a drug shipment.

Meanwhile, a nuclear device has somehow made its way into the district, and undercover cop Damien (Paul Walker) has been sent to disarm it. He has been ordered to team up with Lino, who knows his way around. To make matters worse, Tremaine has kidnapped Lino's girlfriend (Catalina Denis), and was also apparently responsible for the death of Damien's father. Can our heroes stop the bomb from going off, or will they discover a more sinister plot afoot?

Rookie director Camille Delamarre does a fine job with the action sequences, refraining from too much camera-shaking and showing the Parkour sequences in all their exhilarating glory.

However, in this remake, the entire plot seems ridiculous, not to mention just about every twist and turn within. Everyone in the movie seems rather easily fooled by each other. For example, two people somehow manage to escape a warehouse full of thugs simply by pointing a gun at the right person. This happens several times. In other words, none of the characters is very smart, and their actions seldom make sense.

It's a sad way for the late Paul Walker to go out, and a waste of David Belle's awesome skills.

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