Monday, 3 January 2011

Film Review: DISTRICT 13 (2004) [a.k.a. DISTRICT B13]

Director: Pierre Morel
Running time: 84 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

UK release date: 7th July 2006

Watched on Sky+ Monday 3rd January 2011.


I reviewed the sequel to this, Banlieue 13 - Ultimatum (2009) (a.k.a. District 13 – Ultimatum), back in June 2010 (you can find that review here: film-review-district-13-ultimatum-2009). Funnily enough, this film is very similar, with just as much action as in the sequel. But more of that later, here’s a very brief summary first (summary haters please wait outside the walls of District 13 while I write the next paragraph).

The French government have walled off a section of Paris to contain lawless elements within. A vigilante who lives there, Leïto, is in a dispute with a drug lord, Taha, when Taha kidnaps his sister. Taking revenge, Leïto captures Taha and takes him to the police, only for the corrupt cops to release Taha and lock up Leïto. Some time later, a straight-up cop, Tomaso, is tasked with retrieving a bomb that has been stolen in District 13. He takes Leïto to help him, on the promise that they will also rescue his sister. The bomb will explode in just a few hours and Leïto has a plan. I won’t say any more, don’t want to give too much away.

This is a very well made film that has some great fight sequences and some brilliant free-running segments also. Performances were also pretty good, although it’s quite hard to judge with an action film in a foreign language. But honourable mentions must go to; Cyril Raffaelli as Capt. Damien Tomaso, David Belle as Leïto, Tony D'Amario as K2, Bibi Naceri as Taha Bemamud and Dany Verissimo as Lola.

Like the sequel, I found the plot a little simplistic, although there were some nice little twists in this one that were missing from the second. As I said, the fight sequences and free-running were excellent; I just felt there could have been a little more of them. The film did get a little too bogged down in dialogue from time to time which, I felt, didn’t help the flow of the action. Having said that, it’s still worth seeing for the action sequences, and so, recommended.

My score: 6.8/10

IMDb Page:

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