Movie Review: 'Brick Mansions'

Apr 26, 2014, 08:43 IST | Mihir Fadnavis

Brick Mansions
U/A: Action
Dir: Camille Delamarre
Cast: Paul Walker, David Belle, RZA

Hard-boiled film buffs would know that the 2004 French film, District B-13, was the movie that brought the free running style, Parkour, into the limelight.

'Brick Mansions' follows the story of the original, beat by beat
'Brick Mansions' follows the story of the original, beat by beat

The insane chase scenes from that movie became instant hits on YouTube and eventually people picked up the movie to check out what other insanity existed in it. They weren’t disappointed. And a sequel was commissioned, to lesser results.

Fast forward ten years, and we now have a Hollywood remake of District 13, Brick Mansions, and unfortunately, it sacrifices the ‘coolness’ of the original in favour of silliness and unnecessary drama. Due to the sad demise of Paul Walker, the only reason to watch Brick Mansions is that it’s his last film role. Other than that, this is a film with no redeeming qualities as such.

Brick Mansions follows the story of the original, beat by beat. Set in 2018 post apocalyptic Detroit, the film showcases all of the stuff seen in Robocop — corrupt cops, socio-political skirmishes, and nasty drug lords. The only remaining ‘human’ population exists in, you guessed it, brick mansions. Damien (Walker) is an undercover cop out to avenge his dad’s death and round up the gang of baddies, including RZA. He teams up with David Belle, the founder of Parkour, to take down the goons and even defuse a bomb.

The good thing about the French original was that it didn’t take itself too seriously. It was dumb fun, but the remake is just dumb and no fun whatsoever. Moreover, we’ve seen Parkour get mauled in countless movies, starting from Casino Royale to Imran Khan in Kidnap. So the ingenuity of the fighting style wears out really fast, and it doesn’t help that director Camille Delamarre’s shots cut too quickly to show us what the heck is going on. Cutting quick shots defeats the purpose of having the actors perform beautiful, synchronised Parkour. Walker is playing the exact same character he did in the Fast and Furious films. Not to mention the mildly racist overtones of the movie — we have two white heroes fighting against villainous, big black dudes with guns.

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