District B13 (Banlieue 13) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

District B13 (Banlieue 13) Reviews

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½ January 9, 2016
This and the Raid have set the standard for the modern action movie.
December 1, 2015
this movie has over the top action with awesome parkour stunt. people who want a short entertaining movie here is one to add on your list
September 24, 2015
Notorious for its groundbreaking parkour-fuelled action scenes, District B13 sounded like a remarkable action film.

District B13 does not hold back. Taking off instantaneously, the material relies on a quick intro credits to summarize the context of the tale before it immediately takes off into a series of loose plot points and action scenes. District B13 hardly tries to pretend that it has a story because it is in such a rush to convince viewers that it is going somewhere without giving them the time to honestly pause and consider the notion. When you look closely into it, the plot of District B13 is very clearly borrowed from the American cult classic Escape from New York even though the political commentary is hardly as relevant this time around. Still, District B13 skates by through delivering on its generic contract. Making promises of effective action, District B13 really makes a memorable case thanks to powerful dedication from David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli. Their stunt work is amazing, and though the story is thin it has good ideas to it as well as scenery which successfully makes the experience convincing. I feel like there could have been more long shots or tracking shots used to emphasize the large scale of the narrative and really put some strong imagery into the feature. The editing in District B13 gives me mixed feelings. While the fast paced editing reinforces the speedy plot and doesn't overwhelm the parkour scenes, there is a sense that during many of the close combat action scenes it can cut a bit too quickly. This can prove overwhelming, and though it may not cut to the speed of the average Hollywood action film being produced ten years later, it certainly serves as an early example of where the industry would later turn for worse. But if viewers can keep up with the editing, they will truly appreciate the practical nature of District B13. Without visual effects or wires, District B13 relies on extensive parkour choreography to drive its action force. And the stunts performed really work to capitalize on the versatile scenery used so that there is a lot of practical creativity in the stunts. District B13 features iconic action sequences which are very hard to forget, and that proves enough to compensate for the narrative shortcomings.
And beyond the stylish merits of District B13, the overall mood of the film is good. It's very fast which can be overwhelming to certain viewers, but the lack of a story makes keeping up with everything no challenge. The remorseless energy of the film effectively removes the idea of a legitimate narrative and the idea that the film should be taken seriously, refraining from filling the feature with dramatic subplots to go with it. Instead, the mad dash creates a sense of energy which is assisted by a light touch of comic relief. When District B13 is not hurling stunts at viewers, it gets through its script at a fast pace and does it with a sense of buddy comedy about it. Pitting the cast members against each other, Pierre Morel is able to elevate the characters slightly by establishing an effective relationship between Leito and Captain Damien Tamaso. Yet even though there is no plot and a prominent comedic edge to District B13, there is still a genuine feeling that the film can easily be taken seriously.
And all in all, District B13 predominantly serves as a showcase for the remarkable physical abilities of David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli.
David Belle is a remarkable asset in District B13. Being the man who famously brought parkour to national attention, District B13 serves as an effective front for the man's amazing physical talents. Being able to swiftly jump from roof too roof and through the most confined spaces along the way, David Belle also integrates martial arts into his technique to ensure that District B13 serves as a powerful piece of performance art for the man. It all comes to him so naturally, and even though you can see intense dedication in him there is also a sense that it is no challenge. David Belle delivers a remarkable physical performance in District B13, and even when it comes to line delivery he has no problem saying his limited assortment of words with tension and fast ambition.
Cyril Raffaeilli also makes a powerful case. Being given the most expanded character of the story, Cyril Raffaelli manages to carry the screen with talents along the lines of David Belle but with more dedication to character. He too is very intense and swift with his physical movements, but he is also encouraged to get in on the action more and is able to do that with extensive use of remarkable fighting skills. The man knows how to throw all kinds of kicks and is not afraid to show it off in District B13, even if the viewer has to prepare for some fairly choppy editing if they're planning to embrace his role in the film. He delivers on the parkour sequences very well, making an effective case to keep up with David Belle by matching the man's extensive parkour skills with a strong dedication to character. And the chemistry shared between these actors manages to build intense drama in a lighthearted series of situations while also ensuring that there is comic energy constantly bouncing off each other.
Tony D'Amario also proves to be a good presence, convincingly using his stature to play out an antagonist through some intense scenes that he appears to have fun in. His unserious attitude adds to the light mood of the feature without detracting from any of its serious intentions.

So District B13 rushes by at such a pace that it attempts to ignore the need for an original story or any sort of character, but the relentless energy of the film combined with its touch of comic relief ensures that District B13 stands out in its viewers memories as being a funny, if meandering piece of performance art.
August 24, 2015
Brick Mansions fell quite a bit short compared to the original... the film truly was bad ass.
½ May 16, 2015
No-stop action, excellent fighting scenes and the parkour scenes are fantastic, story a bit simplistic but in overall a good film.
April 20, 2015
"District 13" is pretty much what you expect from a dystopian French action film. The plot is interesting, the characters are pretty standard, but the thing that makes this film special is the use of parkour in its action sequences. Parkour (aka "extreme running") has seen various waves of popularity since its conception in the late 80's but this film has been a window to the extreme sport for the next generation. The film stars David Belle, the founder of parkour, as a vigilante who tries to cleanse his Parisian suburb of gang violence. I enjoyed the story, but not nearly as much as I enjoyed watching Belle get chased around buildings and over rooftops by various bad guys. Naturally, he ends up being paired up with Cyril Raffaelli (another insanely awesome parkour guy) so that they can get chased around together. Bibi Naceri plays a pretty despicable bad guy and Dany Verissimo provides the damsel in distress. A lot of the story is predictable and far-fetched, but it's worth it for the action sequences. "District 13" isn't an amazing film, but it is an important preservation of parkour with unbelievable stunts that were filmed without wires or CGI.
February 4, 2015
Luc Besson Presents This Fast & Fun Action Flick Which Showcases Some Great Parkour Action. Starring David Belle (Creator Of Free Running) And Stuntman Cyril Raffaelli, this thriller is based in a near future where the most dangerous district in Paris is closed of from the rest of the city. Government officials have however hatched a plot to destroy this part of the city. To make it look like if they are trying to save lives though, they send an ace but naive cop undercover to seemingly disarm the bomb. A basic plot which allows for some nicely choreographed free running stunts to be performed, completely without wires and CGI, this is one film that's worth a viewing for it's different styled stunts, and was the original film to use these types of stunts.
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2015
Action movie with alot of cool stunts. Great one this.
½ November 20, 2014
the original that inspired the clone made by Hollywood
"brick mansions"

I love Paul walker as much as anyone else
but really unless you absolutely have to see this movie staring PW just keep it to the OG
September 29, 2014
One of the best fast paced action in years. Drugs, gangs, shoot em up and all of the jumping around places with a good story telling is a flavor of an awesome action & adventure. David Belle's performance is at his best that every professional stuntman dreamed off.
September 13, 2014
One of the best French films I've ever seen. The cinematography and stunt work was phenomenal. Another great film from Besson and Morel.
½ August 30, 2014
Sounds to me like a French Jackie Chan flick with plenty of parkour. Sign me up.
½ August 12, 2014
District B13 is not an intelligent film by any means, but it is intense, fast-paced, and filled with perfected action.
June 7, 2014
I really enjoyed watching this movie. I'm a big fan of David Belle. He has really encouraged me to become a better traceur.
½ June 3, 2014
Good - but it doesn't do much that The Raid doesn't do better.
May 30, 2014
This was like a French version of a Jason Statham movie without you know.. Jason Statham, but with two guys with some serious parkour skills. Not bad really, short and full of action, a cheesy villain.. there's worse ways to spend a Friday night.
May 14, 2014
sickest action film seen in a long while
½ May 9, 2014
Despite a weak story, District 13 is an exhilarating action film with outstanding parkour and a great sense of fun
½ May 9, 2014
Parkour is So Cool...
Super Reviewer
½ April 28, 2014
It's great over the top fun. A smart, funny and highly entertaining film packed with incredible wall to wall action. Ong Bak meets Escape from New York. An unstoppable thrill ride that delivers the goods and incredible aerobic stunts. Its a head bashing good time. It's fast, furious and spectacular entertainment. It's loaded with great chases, awesome fight sequences and terrific gun battles. Director, Pierre Morel and Writer/Producer, Luc Besson bring a tremendously exciting and new breed of action film. David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli bring on great chemistry as well as their incredible skills in martial arts and parkour. An 85 minute, testosterone-injected roller-coaster ride that's one of the most visually memorable action films in years.
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