Luc Besson has been bringing the widest variety of action films for years, but really stepped things up with his 2004 Parkour focused feature District B13. This film not only spawned a sequel, but now is getting the US remake treatment with Luc Besson once again in the writers seat and bringing along original star David Belle, but with the addition of the late Paul Walker and the RZA rounding out then cast. Of course this film is getting a lot of attention for being the final completed film from Walker, but does it manage to bring the same action and fun as the original or will it run head on into a wall?
Brick Mansions follow an undercover Detroit cop who navigates a dangerous neighborhood that's surrounded by a containment wall with the help of an ex-con in order to bring down a crime lord and his plot to devastate the entire city. On the remake side this is almost a shot to shot remake leaving very little on the cutting room floor, but does change up some aspect of the story and most importantly about Walker’s character. Original star Cyril Raffaelli who played the Walker role was a martial artist with Parkout abilities so he and Belle were able to share the action with their styles perfectly blending together. Walker is not known for this sort of thing so it was a pleasant surprise to see that they gave him great action and Parkour-esque moments, but still has him acknowledge that he thinks it’s insane. Walker and Belle have great chemistry and fly through this movie like they have been working together for years. The RZA is not known for his acting ability and is obvious here, but he looks to be having so much fun chewing up the scenery that you can have a lot of fun with the cheesy nature of it all. There are some story elements and decisions that don’t always make sense, but in this kind of film you just have to let it go. From the moment it starts this is a streamlined silly story that hits the ground quite literally and never lets up.
Most people will probably have mixed feelings as it is geared towards a specific audience but if you can just let yourself have fun you will have just that. This is a mindless action film that is filled with everything you could want in the genre including action, cheesy dialogue and a crazy gun toting female ready to either kill or play with anyone in her path. AS far as remakes this is spot on and Walker fits right in which makes his passing even more sad knowing we will never get to see him in Belle in action together again. If you get the chance check out District B13 either before or after seeing Brick Mansions to see the side by side comparison, it is awesome how much they nailed yet still added their own twist.
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