Friday, March 19, 2010

"District B13" (Language - French) (2004) - Movie Review

“District B13” is not a film but a show. It features the art of Parkour, a particular kind of discipline in which the person uses the obstacles as a form of springboard to evade and glide through from point A to B by doing some impossible landings, escapes, slides and anything that begs a safety net. This directorial venture of Pierre Morel will keep you tightly gripped in its vital characters’ spectacular ability to springboard and you would expect them to break their legs but they do not, not the way Pierre shows it us.

Made in the year 2004, the film happens in Paris 2010 and what “District 9” took as an alien segregation, this film uses poverty and crime as the demarcation and hence the government has erected a wall and called it District B13. The future the film is set in has nothing to do with the thoughtful science fiction the movies set in future generally happen on. This is clean and well bred action thriller shot with spectacular stunt persons doing incredible feats.

The story involves a villain and his thugs ruling this badlands and then there is a good man caught in his hands and left astray by the government finally ending up in jail. Another police officer in the passion of the boasted duty takes up a mission to defuse bomb in B13 making him to combine forces with our good man. Fill in a sister to be saved, you get one of the old, dusted, blown, spit and downtrodden films any one would have watched growing up in the blockbuster 60s, 70s, 80s of any regional and international feature. And still I cannot rest free. It is action and action and ridiculous action that denies to stop in its short 85 minutes.

The good man is the Frenchman Leito played by David Belle, the founder of Parkour discipline and the cop is stunted by Cyril Raffaelli. What these two putforth in this feature along with others is beautiful. A different kind of stunt which is a fun to watch since we see only successes. Seeing this film for this adrenaline action of certain attribute of elegance in the rough environment they claw and jump on, I was reminded of none other than Jackie Chan. That man invented a style of his own in the martial art. He made his fights look clumsy but it involved such an immaculate timing. He hurt himself worse in every film and would do anything to get a fight choreographed right. It has always been how he is going to escape and what he is going to do next.

Jackie Chan made his fighting accessible. He made it look simple by using the surroundings in complex manner and hilarious in his pains. “District B13” does not make it funny and it is more serious, but there is novel in this action. It is more ground level in denying the computer graphics as Jackie did and then makes it real. The camera work gets it that perfect of placing those in the best spotted angles and capturing those efforts right at the vantage points.

The kinetic force of the film makes it go fast and faster. The dialogues are sparse as it should be and it drags when these people speak when they have to rest to calm their nerves. Pierre Morel is a hot shot to immediately take the next venture to “Taken” which I wrote that it arrived a little too late for the era. Now he has already made “From Paris with Love” with John Travolta and the sequel for this film is already out. He is busy and the reason is obvious. He can keep the momentum going.

I had pure fun watching “District B13” and in the style of those, I got hooked. Sure there are guns blazing all over the place and our heroes walk by without a scratch. Despite the discipline of this Parkour, there is no way in eternity they could pull off such an impulsive and instinctive perfection in escaping their targets and making it out alive without broken bones. Yet as much as it aspires to be real in its stunts, it warns those movie cliches and blunders by openly keeping the story to nothing. This is a mindless action but with lot of hard work and heart in making these stunts. For that, “District B13” kicks some phenomenal butts.

No comments: