Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Brick Mansions

Brick Mansions is a remake of the 2004 French parkour-sci-fi-rap film District B13. While the director is different, the two writers are the same (Luc Besson and Bibi Naceri, who also played one of the villains in the French version; his part is now played by RZA). One of the two main actors is also the same, possibly because no one else was qualified for the part - David Belle is one of the founders of parkour, on which the movie's action sequences rely. Those action sequences are the primary reason to watch Brick Mansions, with the secondary reason being the presence of Paul Walker in one of his final performances.

As an action movie, Brick Mansions is quite good. The choreography is excellent, and David Belle's skills are amazing. The does suffer from martial-arts-gun-syndrome, which dictates that no one who is doing cool things can be shot, even when they really should get shot given the circumstances.

In all other ways, the movie is strictly mediocre. The plot revolves around the premise that a section of Detroit has gone so bad that the authorities built a giant wall around it to close it off from the rest of the city. This is a silly enough supposition that it is hard to take anything else about the plot seriously. The amount of resources it would take to build the wall and then guard it is ludicrously higher than the amount that would have been required to fix the problem in the first place. Also, this is America - the people wouldn't stand for the construction of a ghetto.

The acting is of the low-budget action movie variety - lots of overacting and bad acting. Walker can act, but everyone else is second-tier at best. I'm not completely sure that some of Belle's lines weren't dubbed into English in post-production.

Trigger warning: the N-word is used several times, all by RZA as far as I remember.

There are only two female characters in Brick Mansions: the helpless victim and the sadistic bully. Oddly enough, they spend quite a bit of time together on screen with rather a lot of interaction, and yet the movie does not pass the Bechdel test.

Brick Mansions is a fun action movie with great stunts and good choreography, but it is not actually a good movie. It is also basically the same movie as District B13, so if you have already seen that, the only reason to see Brick Mansions is to watch without subtitles.

Performance: 3.5/5
Plot: 2/5
Production: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5
Bechdel: Fail
Reverse-Bechdel: Pass
Mako Mori: Fail
What are these?

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2. Lone Survivor
3. The Wind Rises
4. The Lego Movie
5. Lust For Love
6. The Grand Budapest Hotel
7. Pompeii
8. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
9. I, Frankenstein
10. Monuments Men
11. Knights of Badassdom
12. Divergent
13. Brick Mansions
14. 300: Rise of an Empire
15. RoboCop
16. Winter's Tale
17. Transcendence
18. Noah
19. The Legend of Hercules
20. Need For Speed
21. 3 Days to Kill

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