Sunday, September 11, 2005

Banlieue 13 (District 13B) (Pierre Morel)

Banlieue 13 (District 13B) (Pierre Morel) 34 – This action film, set in the year 2010, takes place in a socially malfunctioned Paris, in which the poorer sections of the city have been walled up by the frustrated administration. Little in the way of social commentary is provided beyond that setup, however, since this is a film that’s far more concerned with ass-kicking than muckraking.

As far as mindless action films though, you’re better off checking out last weekend’s truly absurd Transporter 2 than watching this. Despite some decent stuntwork, the fight choreography here fails to inspire. Rather than featuring a martial artist, the film stars one of the inventors of the French extreme sport parkour, in which participants find themselves climbing and jumping their way across city rooftops. That makes for exciting unscripted competition, I’m sure, but in a narrative film, it’s the equivalent of having a superhero movie in which the special power is the ability to run away really fast.

When the movie shifts midway into a buddy cop flick and the heroes are given twenty-four hours to find and defuse a bomb, the imagination level drops dramatically, and the futuristic setting all but ceases to matter. By no means a chore to watch, Banlieue 13 still fails to ever really excite.