District B13 (Banlieue 13) Reviews
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.
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