Paris 2010. An isolation wall surrounds the ghetto cities of district b13. Within these walls gang rule is absolte. Damien is a member of an elite police squad highly trained in martial arts. He goes undercover to infiltra... more »te a gang in order to defuse a neutron bomb & save district b13 from annihilation. Studio: Magnolia Pict Hm Ent Release Date: 12/31/2007 Run time: 85 minutes Rating: R« less
IVOR I. from CHICAGO, IL Reviewed on 10/12/2009...
Great Luc Besson action film. He no longer directs, but his personality and paw prints stand out as a producer/writer. Lots of kinetic Hong-Kong style thrills in District B13. In the near plot, the ghettos of Paris have been walled in and left to rot, sort of like Carpenter's Escape From New York. After a neutron bomb is stolen by a criminal kingpin from nasty District B13, Damien, an attack-dog of a cop who specializes in deep cover assignments, played by Cyril Raffaelli, a stuntman turned actor, gets together with Leito, played by the charismatic David Belle. Leito is a native of B-13, motivated by the local drug kingpin who has kidnapped his sister, the Audrey Hepburn-like, hard but cute, Dany Verissimo (she's going to be a huge star!). The plot is sort of silly, but no matter. The film's young director, Pierre Morel, a veteran of many French rock vids, keeps up a non-stop flow of sheer physical prowess. Man, these actors are firt!!! Belle is famous in France's youth culture as the inventor of a sport called parkour. As such, parkour treats Paris' ghetto architecture as an obstacle course as Belle hauls ass all over the place, running from gun-toting thugs, While Belle is the tattooed bad-boy, Leito is good. An undercover narco cop, he also jumps, hurdles, and generally throws down convincingly with astonishing grace. The fight sequences are spectacular.The movie never takes itself too seriously, and doesn't preach about drugs or race. A nice bit of work which my kids loved!
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Hugely Entertaining French Action Film with Eye-Popping Stun
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 08/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Set in the year of 2010, `Dictrict B13' features two no-nonsense fighters Damian and Leito in the titular crime-infested area near the city of Paris. They fight the drug-addicted kingpin and his thugs before finally saving the world too. The story of French action film `District B13' (written by Luc Besson) needs lots of suspense of disbelief even though in reality we recently witnessed the outbreak of riots in this country. Still the actions of are all first-rate, and the two leads of the film Cyril Raffaelli and David Belle are more impressive than any other famous names from the Hollywood products.
Part buddy-buddy movie features crime-fighting Damian (stunt-turned actor Cyril Raffaelli, `Kiss of the Dragon') and ex-thug Leito (David Belle), both of whom have to join forces to accomplish the missions of their own. Not much is original, I admit, as far as the script by Luc Besson and Bibi Naceri (the latter also appears as the mobster) is concerned, but we are not watching this film for the story, and you should know it.
[EYE-POPPING STUNTS] The film will grab your attention from the opening section, where Leito runs away from the thugs sent from the gangster. For incredibly agile David Belle, jumping on the rooftops from one building to the other (like Jackie Chan in `Rumbles in Bronx') is not enough. Before doing these breath-taking stunts, he actually climbs down on the wall of the building, jumping from a balcony to the one below. And that's only the beginning of the eye-popping action sequences, in which like Buster Keaton he keeps running inside and outside of the buildings, and his rhythmical movements are often so beautiful that you might forget that he is really doing a death-defying actions.
[NO WIRE, NO CGI] Cyril Raffaelli is also great, showing the martial arts skills only the real stunt persons can reveal. You just have to see their stunts that are done by the actors themselves without using any wire and special effects (that's why it was shot in Romania, where the regulations are less strict). Their stunts remind the film fans of one Thai movie `Ong-Bak,' but the stunts in this French actioner are done in a different style with more vertical movements and less bone-crunching fighting. And they are both fantastic.
This is a non-stop French action hugely entertaining with incredible actions. You may not like the preposterous story, but once these actions start, you just cannot blink a second."
John Carpenter meets The Transporter!
Cubist | United States | 09/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What makes District B13 work is the charisma of the two protagonists, especially Leito. At first, you think he's some junkie scumbag but he doesn't use or sell the drugs, he destroys them. Not to mention that your heart goes out to him once you see his sister get snatched by the bad guys and then turned into a zombified junkie. Leito also has mad skills, jumping, punching and kicking anything that stands in his way. Even though Damien doesn't have something personal at stake like Leito (and so you root for him slightly less) but he doesn't want to see two million die if that bomb goes off. Like Leito, he's an accomplished fighter but his forte is with guns.
If District B13 feels like the premise of Escape from New York mixed with the aesthetic of Transporter, it's because Luc Besson co-wrote this film and The Transporter. And like with that film, Besson strips it down to the basic genre conventions, keeping the running time down to a lean 89 minutes. District B13 has a crisp, slick look with fast-paced, kinetic action and a thumping, pulsating electronica soundtrack that matches the visuals perfectly. This is a wonderful piece of eye candy and a lot of fun to watch if you're into these kinds of adrenaline-rush action movies.
"Making of District B13" features cast and crew members talking about how quickly the film came together. Amazingly, most of the main actors are primarily known as comedians although you wouldn't know it from watching this movie. We also get some insight into how a few of the stunts were pulled off including rehearsal footage of the stunt men practicing fight moves and choreographing elaborate stunts.
"Extended Fight Scene - Casino" presents a slightly longer, slightly more violent version of the exciting casino action sequence where Damien takes on many bad guys.
Finally, there are "Outtakes," a collection of blown lines and goofs during the fight scenes."
Pure Adernaline - Parkour Sport. beyond stunts
Bosky Bear | Texas USA | 07/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the best action adventure movies I have ever seen. Good story, sufficient surprises and plot twists. Faced paced action and well edited. The IMDB.com reviews say it all.
The star actors are athletes displaying their abilities in the newest sport called, Parkour. It is a type of hybrid form of running and jumping in urban settings, inspired by the martial arts. All stunts were performed by the principal actors, themselves.
The English dub track is intended for a British audience, but that is not too distracting. Cool music soundtrack that adds to the suspense.
I bought this because I could not rent it. Glad I bought it. Worth the $30 or so."
A Future noir action extravaganza!
Raegan Butcher | Rain City, USA | 02/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you crossed one of John Carpenter's Snake Plissken films with one of the early Hong Kong shoot-em ups made by John Woo and added a boat-load of Jackie Chan styled acrobatics and bone-crunching martial arts, then you might be able to imagine the incredible action set-pieces that are welded to a super-cool futuristic dystopian setting in DISTRICT 13. Anyone who likes sci fi actioners should see it. Within the first 3 minutes I was completely pulled in by the pumping techno soundtrack and the super-stylish camera-prowl thru the decayed streets. DISTRICT 13 is, hands down, one of the best action movie I've seen in the last 25 years. Check it out."
Non-stop Thrill Ride
Michael Mcewen | 09/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first thing you take away from this film are the incredible action set pieces. These include some stunning fight scenes, but the most unbelievable is the parkour sequence that starts the film. If you've seen a Jackie Chan flick where he scampers up the side of a building or over a fence, you've got the idea of the type of action that constitutes parkour. Now string together dozens of those stunts as the hero runs from some thugs. See the movie for this if for no other reason. If you aren't blown away by it, you probably can rest assured that you will never like any martial arts film.
The second time I saw the film, I realized something else. The acting is great. You have not one, but two strong action leads. They are both in fantastic physical shape and fight with grace, but manage to bring a lot of depth to their characters. The villain, Taha, is efficiently ruthless and his head goon, K2, starts as a brute, but evolves through the film. The sister is great, too.
I won't spend a lot of time defending the plot. It is set in the near future and Paris has walled in some of the rougher neighborhoods like Escape From New York. There is a bomb and some sinister government machinations. That said, relatively speaking, this story line is The Godfather compared to most martial arts flicks. The movie is well paced so you aren't spending a lot of down time wondering if you should just fast forward to the next fight. Plus there is barely a scene that isn't accented by the phsyical prowess of the two leads.
The DVD has both the original French and an English dub, both in 5.1 or stereo. There are a few minutes of outakes and an extended version of the casino fight that are worth a look, but nothing incredible. The best feature is an hour long making of that has lots of behind the scenes footage and interviews. Well worth a watch if you enjoyed the movie.
I consider this to be a flawless action film (face it - more plot would have just hampered the action). Buy it, love it, you won't regret it."