Brick Mansions (aka District B13) review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
Back when District 13 was released I was apprehensive about a film crafted around parkour not only because crafting a film after something rarely works as people concentrate so much on making it work they forget that film is a story based medium and they might actually have to think of one. District 13 proved me wrong so when they decided to remake it in America and called it Brick Mansions I was even less excited to find out what it would deliver, turns out nothing has changed in translation, not even one small aspect of these dire films has differed.
Brick Mansions follows undercover police officer Damien Collier (Paul Walker) as he is sent into one of the roughest neighbourhoods in Detroit to try and find his way to the cities most influential crime lord and put his plot to ravage the whole city to a stop before anyone gets hurt. However he must rely upon the help of criminal and parkour expert Lino (David Belle) to get him through the neighbourhood alive.
While the film may be one of Walker’s last before his tragic accident it doesn’t make a lick of sense why he chose it, the action may be entertaining to watch as most gymnastics oddly are but there is nothing else to take away from it. Belle is a dreadful performer so when he is given the chance to say anything he makes Lino out to have some kind of severe speech impediment or just stumbles his way through until Walker has the decency to cut him off and somehow keep the film going.
A supporting role by RZA adds a little flavour to the mix as he makes the lead villain reprehensible enough to like and enjoy but he also adds his usual over the top gangsta schtick that never really goes down well. Although the Detroit setting adds character to the films weak and lifeless story it isn’t enough to make Brick Mansions more than a carbon copy of the original District 13 and if there is a film nobody should emulate it would be that one.