Sunday, July 4, 2010

District 13 Review

District 13, 2004
Reviewed by Daniel S.
Directed by: Pierre Morel
Written By: Luc Besson, Bibi Naceri
Staring: David Belle, Cyril Raffaelli, Dany Verissimo.
Language: French

An understudy of French super auteur Luc Besson, director Pierre Morel's gritty debut is a blur of an action movie that blitzes through its short running time with a non-stop barrage of shaky camera work, kinetic editing, and dance club beats. Producer/writer Luc Besson's script is effectively simple and straightforward, merely establishing motivation and urgency for District's 13 tightly chained action sequences. Blessed with incredibly talented and innovative martial artists, Morel boldly turns his performers loose without the use of CGI or wires, making for a truly unique action experience.

Performing more stunts than dialogue, colorful French martial artist David Belle steals the movie with his innovative “Parkour” stunts in lengthy foot chases up and down stairs, across roof tops, and even the narrow hallways of apartment buildings. His work is unique and jaw dropping not so much for the risks but the athletic creativity he demonstrates. Having a bit more screen time and dialogue, the stoic Cyril Raffaelli handles the much more traditional martial art fight sequences as an undercover cop, though he is no less creative, incorporating unusual props such as car stirring wheels into his brawls. In supporting roles, late character actor Tony D-Amario is memorable as a bumbling henchman, youthful looking adult film actress Dany Verissimo is surprisingly sympathetic as the babe in peril, and Bibi Naceri is convincing as the sleazy villain.


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