Directed by: Camille Delamarre
Filmed prior to Paul Walker’s tragic and untimely death in 2013, this film is a French-Canadian action thriller film that is a remake of the 2004 French film District B13. The film was originally intended to be a direct-to video release, but after Walker’s death, it was slated for a theatrical release. The rather implausible story occurs in near future in a dystopian Detroit that has abandoned an entire district known as Brick Mansions. Once this section was a much nicer neighborhood, but over the years (like Detroit itself) it has fallen into disrepair. Now in has been literally walled off and houses only the most dangerous of criminals as well as the poorest of the poor who are trapped there as well.
Unable to control the crime, the police have constructed a colossal containment wall around this area to protect the rest of the city (yah, we also thought that this part of the film’s backstory was pretty implausible, still, it is what we have). Now, undercover cop Damien Collier (Walker) who himself is the son of a decorated, cop, killed on the job, is determined to bring his father’s killer Tremaine (RZA) to justice. Meanwhile, Lino (Belle), who lives inside Brick Mansions, is waging a one-man war against Tremaine who has become the defacto crime boss of the sector. When Lino steals then destroys 20 kilos of Tremaine’s “product” it sets off a series of events that will have profound effects on the entire city. Meanwhile (in a subplot that is almost tossed off and then dismissed) the Mayor is attempting to “rehabilitate” Brick Mansions so as to put in a new high-rise community that will help resuscitate the city itself.
So, into the lion’s mouth goes Detective Collier who (reluctantly) teams with Lino as Collier attempts to not only nab Tremaine, but stop him from detonating a nuke inside Brick Mansion while Lino is attempting to rescue his ex-girlfriend Lola (Catalina Denis) that Tremaine has kidnapped so as to extract revenge on Lino and together the two men must stop Tremaine’s plot to devastate the entire city. If you made it through this far (or about 10 minutes into the film), you’ll realize that all of this is just fluff, and none of it actually matters as the entire point of all of this is to see Walker and Belle (who is credited with inventing parkour) jump around like street acrobats and fight off dozens of thugs while driving fast cars, getting shot at, and blowing the crap out of stuff. Still, the millions of Walker fans will flock to see this film, and it should all do well enough. (Oh yeah, rumor has it that Vin Diesel apparently told the producers that if the film was released theatrically, he would agree to do a sequel, and would donate his salary to Walker’s daughter.)
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.