Bullet Points: District B13
You may be saying to yourself, “Hey Chad you sure do seem to be reviewing a lot of French films lately. What’s the deal?” Well, I like to keep my action movie watching as broad as possible in order to never miss a sweet-ass action movie. And with me being the patriot that I am, I still like to salute the French for helping us in the American Revolution by watching/reviewing their films. This is called ‘keeping up international relations’ (Top Gun, anyone??). If you’re into foreign films, like me, then you should definitely watch District B13. The name is strange. You’ll find it sometimes with just District 13 so make sure you’re watching the right movie. Let’s check out the Bullet Points:
The Gist: Paris, 2010. A wall has been built up to prevent the crime and overall wretchedness from getting out of Paris and into the rest of France. Now the gangs inside the wall have stolen a neutron bomb and it’s up to an undercover cop and a local Parkour expert to stop the bomb from detonating and killing 2 million civilians.
The Cast: Cyril Raffaelli is most recognizable as a stunt man and for playing a pretty sweet villain opposite both Jet Li in Kiss of the Dragon and Bruce Willis in Live Free or Die Hard. The guy is pretty incredible in action scenes and he doesn’t disappoint us here. David Belle, one of the men who created Parkour gets to show off his good free running skills and while it would be easy for me to make a joke about the French creating an efficient method of running away, I will pass. Belle’s sister is played by the beautiful Dany Verissimo-Petit and she don’t take no shit from anyone. She is probably the toughest character in the whole movie.
Cyril and Belle might be the two toughest guys in Paris.
The Villain: The leader of the group responsible for the bomb theft is a man name Taha. He’s actually not that bad of a guy throughout the movie. He kills more of his own men than anything else. His #2 is a big fat guy named K2 who is a bumbling idiot. Both of the villains are straight out of the 60’s Batman TV series. None of there were really that evil and they were incompetent enough to keep the heroes from completing their mission.
His biggest flaw as a villain was his use of finger guns. Pew pew pew.
The Action: Parkour is the name of the game here and expertly directed by Pierre Morel. David Belle gets to have a couple of cool chase scenes but the bad guys should have just shot him. The only way he ever kills or hurts any of them is when they chase after him and jump off a building or something. Cyril gets a chance to kick some ass and they team up on a King Kong Bundy looking dude which is very reminiscent of the Empire Strikes Back Battle of Hoth. Overall I would say that this movie could have used one more good action scene for it to really stand out.
Parkour is something that really must be seen in person or video to be appreciated. This picture doesn’t do justice to the amazing stuntwork here.
Take it Home:
- Innovator: David Belle created Parkour…he created the art of running around like a crazy high teenager. I’m pretty sure I was jumping off of stuff when I was 10 years old too.
- Two-take David: It only took two takes for Belle to squeeze through the window during his first chase scene.
- Harcore: Danys spent two full days chained up to the bomb on the rooftop trying to get the shots.
- Future: Most of the time when a movie looks into the future they make it 20 or 30 years later but this movie only fast forwards 6 years from when it was filmed. France sure seems to change a lot in those 6 years, I guess.