With bone crunching fights and death defying leaps, this adrenaline charged follow-up takes the groundbreaking parkour action from DISTRICT B13 to thrilling new heights. (Fangoria)
Two years have passed since elite police officer Damien Tomasso (Cyril Raffaelli) teamed up with reformed vigilante Leito (David Belle) to save the notorious District 13, a racially charged ghetto populated by violent drug dealing gangs and vicious killers. Despite government promises to maintain order, the state of the district has deteriorated. A group of corrupt cops and elected officials conspire to cash in on the redevelopment of the district by proposing its destruction under nuclear air strike. Damian and Leito must join forces again, using their martial arts and unique physical skills, to bring peace to the neighborhood by any means necessary.
Get ready to chase across rooftops, shatter plate-glass windows, and vanquish the enemy with a priceless van Gogh canvas (explanation forthcoming): the agile battlers from District B13
(a.k.a. Banlieue 13
) are back. As played by David Belle (one of the inventors of the building-hopping practice called parkour) and Cyril Raffaelli, the two expert head-knockers from the first film return to fight yet another serious threat against the walled-off neighborhood in a slightly futuristic Paris. This time some corrupt government officials have a devious plot to raze the slum and funnel the rebuilding contracts to their payoff-happy corporate pals at Harriburton (a name that bears absolutely no resemblance to any real-life corporate behemoth). Wisely delaying the reunion of our heroes, the movie opens with Raffaelli's epic throw-down against a gang of desperadoes, which he executes while wielding the van Gogh painting as a shield/weapon. Nice. Then Belle gets onstage for a typically graceful parkour workout across various buildings. This action, especially in its overblown, belief-defying later stages, has more than its share of fromage
, but isn't that what we expect from writer-producer Luc Besson? Ultimatum
isn't as sleek and effective as the first movie, but it has enough deft action and buddy-picture one-liners to justify its existence--and Belle and Raffaelli bristle with real movie-star appeal, especially when doing their Butch-and-Sundance routine. The ending suggests another sequel will need to have a very different setting, but that might not be such a bad thing. --Robert Horton