Wednesday, January 02, 2008

District B13 (2004)

District B-13 is a film on high octane! Written by Luc Besson, & Bibi Naceri and directed by Pierre Morel this film flies onscreen at hypersonic speed. The film takes place in the future in an area known as District B-13, which has been walled up and is a no mans land run by criminals & gangs. The government has given up, and sealed off this section of Paris, which is now a war zone. Our hero Leïto was born and raised here, and he is only trying to survive in a desperate land, but when the police betray him, and his sister is given over to a ruthless drug kingpin heads will roll. Enter Capt. Damien Tomaso of the Paris police. A super cop who enforces the law, and is incorruptible. It seems that the ruthless drug lord has obtained a Neutron bomb, and it will go off in 24 hours if Tomaso doesn’t diffuse the bomb. Our two heroes forge a reluctant alliance, and off they go.

To say that this film does not have any action scenes is like saying Disney does not do cartoons. District B-13 is on par as being a well crafted action film. There is little to criticize in this film. The editing is super, and the cinematography is quite good, but that’s because Mr. Morel the director of the film is also a cinematographer, so he knows his visuals. Credit should go to Manuel Teran the cinematographer on “District B13”. Through Teran’s visuals I actually buy the filmmakers premise of a bleak future. The picture was shot in Romania, and by using the architecture of the former Eastern bloc country District B13’s landscape is quite convincing.

This leads me to Cyril Raffaelli, a stuntman turned actor. His performance is amazing. He reminded me of a young Jackie Chan, and the way he did his own stunts certainly adds to the films authenticity. The film is in French, and it took me awhile to get into the groove of the language. It is a quick language and I struggled at first to keep up with the sub-titles, but in no way did it take away from the movie. The filmmaking is basic. No special effects. Just special choreography in the fighting sequences. What ever special effects there was was well hidden and did not distract from the movie. On the movies web site it tells of how the filmmakers shot with camera speeds up to 150 frames per second instead of the regular 24 f.p.s. It was the filmmakers desire to show the audience how the actors did what they did.

All in all if you want to see a solid good action film go rent the film, and don’t blame me if you come away with a new appreciation of French rap too. It’s all très magnifique!

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