Losing a beloved actor or artist can be tough. For some, works are left unfinished; others have to struggle making any releasable material accessible without appearing insensitive. When we lost Paul Walker last year, it took many by surprise. Yet another actor whose career was amid a massive resurgence, only to have it cut short due to tragedy. His final completed film role (“Fast and Furious 7” was mid-production) sees him grinding out a role he had done many times: good guy with darkness about him. A role he played well.
Walker plays Damien, an undercover cop faced with a literal ticking time bomb of a situation. In Detroit’s neglected slums Brick Mansions (the film’s title) an explosive has been accidentally activated. With the reluctant assistance of a criminal from the area (David Belle), Damien must locate and deactivate the charge. Standing in his way is a ruler of Brick Mansions, Tremaine (RZA), who may have control of the missing bomb.
The film is a remake of French film “District 13.” Beyond that, the film is mostly formulaic doesn’t break any new ground. Paul Walker does his best to liven up the story, but the script doesn’t have the heart to rise to the occasion. Seeing Walker on the big screen is surreal, making the film a bit melancholic. At it’s core, “Brick Mansions” is film built to showcase parkour, a form of extreme running. David Belle, founder of parkour, reprises his role from the French counterparts and really delivers new and fascinating feats of athleticism. Seeing Walker go toe-to-toe with Belle makes the film refreshing. It certainly isn’t a well-made film, but it has a B-movie quality that redeems some aspects. It’s a shame Walker’s final role wasn’t more iconic. 2 out of 5 stars.
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