Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


District 13

District 13
Starring:
David Belle, Cyril Raffaelli, Bibi Naceri and Dany Verissimo


Rated: R 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: June 2, 2006 Released by: Magnolia Pictures

This sharply-paced picture from producer and co-writer Luc Besson, in French with English subtitles, is an action yarn that makes the most of parkour.

Parkour, in the futuristic District 13, would fit right in with an urban "X Games" and seems slickly mounted from a PC game. It requires stuntmen turned actors David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli to acrobatically negotiate rooftops, balconies, among other tricky obstacles.

Director Pierre Morel fashions what appears to be conventional summer fare with pizzazz utilizing the Parkour innovations, especially by Belle, a Frenchman, with a flair to fleeing some sinister folks.

2010 Paris is the setting of the typical blackmailing after underworld head Taha (Bibi Naceri, the other scripter) has acquired an atomic warhead. Operating from the seediest area of the city, he is being countered by undercover cop Damien (Raffaelli) who is reluctantly aided by Belle's Leito. Leito's sister Lola (Dany Verissimo) happens to be held against her will by Taha's slimy cohorts.

Hollywood could take a lesson from Besson and Morel to bring physical dynamism to conspiracy, paranoid strokings. District 13 is noteworthy for how the layers of one's status is affected as things get increasingly perilous. But, Belle and Raffaelli carry it all in way that give it a kinetic energy that propels it with imagination not felt in quite the same way since Run Lola Run.

  Frank Chris Tony Jim Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
District 13       B       B

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