Genre: Action
Director: Pierre Morel
Starring: Cyril Raffaelli, David Belle, Tony D Amario, Bibi Naceri
RunTime: 1 hr 25 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: NC-16

Official Website: http://www.banlieue13-lefilm.com/

Release Date: 23 March 2006

Synopsis :

Another action-packed movie by Luc Besson, Paris suburbs 2008. Nobody has control over the 13th District. The police tries to learn to. Two young heroes, born in what became this no man’s land and fighting against a rehabilitary government, have 24 hours to go and save what became a dark, violent, out of control dimension.

Movie Review:

After “the 5th Element”, Luc Besson took a long break from directing and became producer for a series of movies. Among those movies that he handpicked, there was “Yamakasi”, which showcased a gravity defying action packed French style motion technique called “Le Parkour” which surprised many of the action movie genre fans.

“Le Parkour” is a French homegrown art of physical discipline that involved jumping, moving and climbing around obstacles especially tall buildings in a smooth and rapid manner, adapting to any given environment with one’s movement. To watch a skilled master of “Le Parkour” navigate a city landscape in an uninterrupted and fluid motion is simply breathtaking.

And 13th District offers all that “La Parkour” action and more. In other words, a better storyline compared to the previous “La Parkour” film such as “Yamaskasi”.

Crime has been out of control in the ghettos of hypothetical future of Paris in 2010 and in order to protect the other citizens of Paris from the criminal elements, a wall has been built to contain lawlessness, forming the infamous 13th District.

Enter the first protagonist of the movie, Leito (David Belle), a self-rightous vigilante in the walled up 13th District, has been fighting a long battle against the resident overlord Taha from peddling drugs in the street of 13th District. It’s a uphill battle and matters are made worse when the police are refusing any help.

All until an experimental neutron bomb is hijacked and falls into Taha’s hands. Enter the second Protagonist, police undercover specialist, Damien (Cyril Rafaelli) who has only 24 hours to defuse the bomb before it’s activated by the bomb timer.

Infiltrating the 13th District and locating the bomb would require Leito’s help and before too soon, Damien and Leito becomes the loveable odd couple who indulges in very different tactics in getting the job done.

While it’s set in the future, it’s pretty evident that this film was not budgeted to fill and impress the audience with fancy future gadgets or computer generated images. Instead 13th District took the “Mad Max” way out, showcasing a more savage future with slums as the backdrops and it worked well to bring out the hopelessness of the 13th District.

Compared to other parkour themed films like “Yamakasi” and “The Great Challenge”, there’s a few reasons why “13th District” succeeded better as a film.

First, the scenario in 13th District was a more believable one for these two stars to exercise their skills. Then there the undeniable natural charisma and strong screen presence of David Belle and Cyril Rafaelli, particularly David Belle, who is the founder of “La Parkour”, charming his way through with his good looks and it makes one wonder why he didn’t star in the “La Parkour” themed films sooner. The supporting cast were intriguing too, specially the overlord Taha, his big sized right hand man K2 and Leito’s sister (played by Dany Verissimo) provided just the right type of eye candy for this film.

13th District basically works as a action pack flick. The story while stronger than it’s precessor, still lacks in depth. However grading this movie in it’s rightful genre, the high octance energy and stylish film deserves high marks.

Movie Rating:

(Watch out Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Tony Jaa, There’s two new kid on the block from the 13th District.
In the traditions of Yamakasi, Great Stunts with a decent story to match)

Review by Richard Lim Jr

DISCLAIMER: Images, Textual, Copyrights and trademarks for the film and related entertainment properties mentioned
herein are held by their respective owners and are solely for the promotional purposes of said properties.
All other logo and design Copyright©2004-2006, movieXclusive.com™
All Rights Reserved.