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BRICK MANSIONS (review)

Brick mansions teaser posterBRICK MANSIONS
Written by Luc Besson and Bibi Naceri
Directed by Camille Delamarre
Starring Paul Walker, RZA and David Belle

Damien: Different method, same result.

The 2004 French film, DISTRICT B13, brought the concept of parkour to the cinematic world. The inevitable American remake, BRICK MANSIONS, enlists the original screenwriters, Luc Besson and Bibi Naceri, as well as the original lead actor, David Belle, but fails to properly recreate the energy of the original cult film as much as one would hope.

Brick Mansions is a fictitious area in a dystopian Detroit that has been deemed far too dangerous for the general public. To protect the citizens of Detroit, the mayor (Richard Zeman) built a wall around the area, which over time has become run down, has had all government funding removed, and has been overtaken by drug dealers, lead by bottom of the barrel tyrant, Tremaine Alexander (RZA). Our hero, Lino (David Belle), an ex-convict just trying to survive, has stolen twenty kilos of drugs from Tremaine, which Tremaine naturally wants back. What better way to lure Lino out than by kidnapping his girlfriend, Lola (Catalina Denis) and using as her bait. This is where Damien (Paul Walker, in his final finished role), an undercover cop, enters. He joins forces with Lino and together they plan to take Tremaine down.

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BRICK MANSIONS fixes most of the plot holes the original movie had, without affecting the dynamics or character relationships. In doing so though, the film creates its own set of issues. In DISTRICT B13, any performance flaws were made up for with adrenalized action. BRICK MANSIONS downplays that action, leaving us with more story and some pretty ridiculous dialogue, which the actors here are not strong enough to elevate. Sadly, Walker doesn’t give anything more here than he does in the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise and RZA basically plays the same character he has in every film he has ever been in. Meanwhile, Belle, who is only here for his parkour abilities, is simply the most entertaining part of the movie. His days in stunt work have made him a crazy risk taker and he is a marvel to watch. His energy drops though when he has to talk or stop bouncing off walls to develop the story. In fact, the film itself ultimately suffers from that same plight.

2.5 sheep

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