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District B13 (7/10)
by Tony Medley
The time is Paris, 2010; the
location is Paris District B13, a section of town so bad it’s been
walled off. There is no police, no law and order, nothing but anarchy.
The District is ruled by Taha (Bibi Naceri), a psychopathic killer, and
his gang. Leďto (David Belle) is a vigilante criminal who wants to
rescue his sister, Lola (Dany Verissimo) from Taha’s clutches, where he
leads her around on a leash like a dog. Damien (Cyril Raffaelli) is a
member of an elite police squadron, trained in martial arts. He is sent
into B13 to disarm a clean atomic bomb that is set to go off in 24
This is a violent film where
people die so often you become immune to it. While it might look like
it, due to all the stunts, there was very little post-production
enhancement of the film. The stunts were apparently done by both Belle
and Raffaelli. The murder and mayhem are as ludicrous as they are in all
these types of films. Bullets fly, but they never strike our heroes.
Automatic weapons fire thousands of rounds, but they just make noise and
bounce off things. Except, that is, when our heroes are firing the guns.
Then bodies fall. There is one scene in a casino in which Damien
dispatches 35 bodies. But he emerges unscathed.
Belle’s forte seems to be
running away from people and jumping from rooftop to rooftop, over vast
chasms, climbing up ladders, vaulting over moving cars, dodging bullets,
and shinnying up and down pipes. He’s so good at it that he does it at
the beginning of the film and then again near the end.
Frankly, this is the kind of
movie I generally despise, and I was despising it when it started. But
when the end arrived, I discovered that I had been thoroughly
May 15, 2006