Starring: Paul Walker, David Belle, RZA
Directed by: Camille Delamarre
Written By: Luc Besson, Bibi Naceri
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 1 hr 30 min
Brick Mansions joins a large list of French films remade for English-speaking audiences. Joining such titles as True Lies (La Totale!), Twelve Monkeys (La jetée) and Point of No Return (La Femme Nikita), and if I were in the mood to sort all these remakes into a best and worst list, I’d have to place Brick Mansions (Banlieue 13 – District B13) in a brand new list called worst of the worst because it’s awful.
It’s really badly edited, and the action is sloppily arranged with way too much camera shake. The dialog is woefully bad bordering on painful to listen to, and who on Earth keeps putting RZA in front of a camera? Because acting is not one of the man’s strengths!
Brick Mansions would have been just annoying if I hadn’t seen the original, but I have seen and enjoyed District B13, which made the Mansions experience that much more painful and disappointing. I even wondered if the folks making this thing had even watched the original, but they must have because Parkour creator and stuntman David Belle is in both films.
District B13 didn’t have a fantastic plot, and to be honest the acting was just serviceable, but where it excelled was in its execution of the action sequences and the amazing Parkour and Martial Arts stunt work from David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli.
In Mansions, Cyril Raffaelli’s character Capt. Damien Tomaso is replaced with Paul Walker as Damien Collier, and while Paul Walker is honestly the better actor, he’s not what this film needed. It needed a highly skilled and well-trained Martial Arts expert like Cyril Raffaelli, but at that point, why not just re-release District B13 in the states?
If you’ve seen District B13 then you DON’T need to see this because it’s nowhere near as good. If you haven’t seen District B13, then just expect a loud and badly staged mess of a movie with awful dialog and some truly laughable acting from RZA and most of the supporting cast. Then go watch B13 and the sequel, District 13 Ultimatum to see how a movie like this should be done!
This is a choppily edited mess, so I suggest waiting for this to be streamed at home on your TV. The action will be even harder to follow on a tablet or phone.
RZA’s performance as the Brick Mansions top crime lord, Tremaine Alexander. To be fair, RZA’s talents lie elsewhere, and the folks making this film should not have cast him in such a critical role.