Given that it not alone covers the aforementioned anecdotal arena as the hyperkinetic 2004 French actioner “District B13,” but alike borrows one of that film’s stars — the amazingly nimble, frequently shirtless parkour artisan David Belle — there’s no abstinent that “Brick Mansions” qualifies as one of the added bombastic English-language remakes on record. Which in no way makes it an accidental or arid one: Ten years on, this additional ache at the aforementioned actual from Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp generates about as abundant active activity as its predecessor, and because how few saw “District B13” Stateside (where it grossed alone $1.2 amateur theatrically), there’s acutely a ample American admirers accessible to adventure to all those glass-smashing, stairwell-hopping stunts.
Still, the arch draw and talking point for this quick-and-dirty Relativity absolution will absolutely be Paul Walker, apparent actuality in the aftermost role he completed filming afore his afterlife in November. It’s absurd not to watch “Brick Mansions” through the prism of that abortive event, and if there’s any change to be begin in Besson’s acquired account of clammy politicos and blank thugs alive out their issues on an urban-ghetto obstacle course, it’s in the thrilling, addictive afterimage of Walker briefly adequate to his action-star prime. Whether he’s adhering to the aback of a dispatch agent (an angel that induces a chill), active a altogether timed backflip, or fending off a agglomeration of uglies with his wrist cuffed to a council wheel, the amateur appears to accept sunk his teeth into a role whose acute concrete demands appropriate him to up his game, alike above the already alarming standards of the “Fast and Furious” franchise.
We are no best in a dystopian Paris, but rather a grimly affected eyes of Detroit — acutely the go-to burghal boscage of the moment (if movies as altered as “RoboCop” and “Only Lovers Left Alive” are any indication), alike admitting this accurate adaptation of the Motor City was filmed in Canada. Walker plays Damien Collier, an clandestine narcotics cop aggravating to avenge his father’s afterlife at the easily of Tremaine (RZA), the arty abomination aristocrat who rules over the run-down, government-condemned public-housing projects accepted as Brick Mansions. But to ability his target, Damien will accept to accompany armament with Lino (Belle), an ultra-skilled, awful conscionable fighter who grew up in Brick Mansions, knows the accomplished abominable coil by heart, and has his own claimed account to achieve with Tremaine: The biologic aristocrat has kidnapped Lino’s ex-girlfriend, Lola (Catalina Denis), and fabricated her the claimed amusement of his majorly depraved, blade-wielding henchwoman, Rayzah (a actively alarming Ayisha Issa).
The area and some of the characters may be new, but the anecdotal arrangement actuality is about identical to the one in “District B13” — starting with an aperture hunt arrangement that culminates in a giddily acceptable affectation of Lino’s parkour accomplishment (Belle is one of the co-founders of that burghal movement), as he leaps from accessible windows, clambers up and bottomward blaze escapes, and sails blithely over the active of his armed-and-dangerous pursuers, consistently landing on his feet. Already afresh Belle’s appearance will acquisition himself bound up by a base cop (who doesn’t alive continued abundant to affliction the decision), alone to get bankrupt out of bastille by Damien, with whom he develops a alert rapport. And already afresh the two men charge baffle their aggregate nemesis and attenuate a neutron bomb that, if detonated, could clean out millions of civilians.
Insofar as the artifice is little added than a attenuate but analytic athletic affectation for one slammin’ setpiece afterwards another, all this broad recycling hardly matters. What counts actuality is not the boldness of the storytelling, but rather the adorableness of the animal anatomy in motion, and the coaction amid a clever, able fighter and his or her concrete ambiance — which is to say, the accomplishment and adeptness of the director. Whereas “District B13” apparent the helming admission of Pierre Morel, who went on to absolute 2008’s Liam Neeson-starring accident “Taken,” “Brick Mansions” launches the feature-filmmaking career of editor Camille Delamarre, addition Gallic aptitude from central the EuropaCorp bend (his alteration credits accommodate “Taken 2” and “Transporter 3,” and he’s already slated to absolute “Transporter 4”).
Delamarre knows his way about an activity arena and keeps the affairs affective agilely enough, alike if the account clocks in at about 10 account best than its taut, 81-minute predecessor. Still, it’s adamantine not to ambition that editors Carlo Rizzo and Arthur Tarnowski hadn’t deployed such an advancing acid address (especially in the parkour sequences), or that the blur had played beneath frenetically with acceleration and apathetic motion, the bigger for us to acknowledge the real-time activity of the stuntwork (coordinated by Alexandre Cadieux) and the swift, adroit movements of the actors.
What’s onscreen is still affluence arresting, sometimes electrifying. It’s enriched, too, by the slow-building affinity amid Walker’s Damien and Belle’s Lino, as they gradually get accomplished their alternate distrust, acclimatize to anniversary other’s different angry methods, and eventually apprentice to assignment in angrily able tandem. (One highlight, involving two colliding cartage and some anxiously synchronized acrobatics, is at already antic and perfect.) They accomplish a accomplished duo, and while Belle’s achievement is bedridden somewhat by his adversity with English, Walker seems absolutely in his aspect — exuding his accepted audacious confidence, to be sure, but additionally acceptance a gentle, autogenetic altruism and self-deprecating amusement to blink through at key moments.
RZA offers solid advancement in a role that becomes clearly beneath articular over time, aback morphing from adamant arbiter to underclass hero as the blur becomes an brash amplitude on the dangers of walling off the haves from the have-nots; these sociopolitical points, like the adverse backstory Damien is saddled with, are pushed a bit too adamantine to convince. Trevor Morris’ account sets a bent exhausted for the action, consistently advance in abundantly black burghal bound expertly crafted by assembly artist Jean A. Carriere.
Film Review: ‘Brick Mansions’
Reviewed at Arclight Cinemas, Hollywood, April 23, 2014. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 90 MIN.
Production: (France-Canada) A Relativity Media (in U.S.) absolution presented with EuropaCorp of a EuropaCorp-Transfilm Intl. co-production, with the accord of Canal Plus and Cine Plus. Produced by Claude Leger, Jonathan Vanger. Executive producers, Ryan Kavanaugh, Tucker Tooley, Matt Alvarez, Romuald Drault, Ginette Guillard, Henri Deneubourg. Co-executive producers, Ron Burkle, Jason Colbeck.
Crew: Directed by Camille Delamarre. Screenplay, Luc Besson, based on the cine “District B13” accounting by Besson, Bibi Naceri. Camera (color), Cristophe Collette; editors, Carlo Rizzo, Arthur Tarnowski; music, Trevor Morris; assembly designer, Jean A. Carriere; art director, Louis Rene Landry; apparel designer, Julia Patkos; complete (Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS), Donald Cohen, Marie-Claude Gagne, Dominic Despins; re-recording mixer, Despins; choreographer, William Rousseau; achievement coordinator, Alexandre Cadieux; abettor directors, Sean Dwyer, Stephane Moreno-Carpio.
With: Paul Walker, David Belle, RZA, Gouchy Boy, Catalina Denis, Carlo Rota, Ayisha Issa. (English dialogue)
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