Director: Pierre Morel
Starring: Cyril Raffaelli, David Belle, Tony
D Amario, Bibi Naceri
RunTime: 1 hr 25 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Date: 23 March 2006
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
“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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
(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
by Richard Lim Jr