The Dallas Movie Screening Group

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Brick Mansions

Fans of the French action film District 13 may be interested in the American remake of the film directed by Camille Delamarre (Transporter) from a script by Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen and Bibi Naceri. It's too bad the movie will be released with the notoriety of being Paul Walker's final film before he died in a fiery car crash last November.

As in the original movie where parts of Paris are cordoned off for the criminal element, the U.S. version has a a dystopian Detroit with it's abandoned brick buildings or mansions that contain the criminal element behind a colossal wall for the safety of the rest of the city. Undercover cop Damien Collier (Paul Walker) teams with ex-convict Lino Dupree (David Belle) to take down the drug kingpin Termaine (RZA) who had killed Damien's father and kidnapped Lino's girlfriend. Of course there's an additional evil plot they must stop that will destroy the city.

The most exciting excuse for this remake is David Belle who is a Parkour master. The art of urban running had exploded on the Internet a few years ago and eventually on the big screen as part of the action choreography. In District 13, they had the benefit of Cyril Raffaelli who you just need to Google to appreciate his Parkour skills. Brick Mansions has Paul Walker in the role that Raffaelli played in the French version. It makes those running across buildings and fighting mayhem scenes not quite as mind blowing. Instead the film brings lots of car chases which considering Walker's Fast and Furious history doesn't really tread new ground.

RZA the hip/hop artist turned writer and director for the Man with the Iron Fist plays the bad guy Tremaine. He's supposed to be an ex-soldier who now runs the fence border cops and the drug trade. He plays it so cool that's it's hard to imagine him getting all edgy and dangerous. Between the running off roofs into the building's windows, cars flipping, exploding and girl on girl fighting, and the heroes fighting each other keeps the movie moving so that you can see the plot holes. It's too bad that Walker could have left this world with something more decent than this film. And there should have been a lot more urban running.
(Review by reesa)

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