- Matthew Turner
- 29 April 2014
Paul Walker's last completed film is a disappointing, badly made remake of District 13
A remake of parkour-showcasing French thriller District 13 (2004), Brick Mansions is notable for being the final film completed by star Paul Walker before his tragic death in a car crash last year. Sadly, that's the only thing that's notable about it and you can't help wondering whether the film might otherwise have gone straight to DVD.
Co-written by District 13 screenwriters Luc Besson and Bibi Naceri, Brick Mansions sticks closely to the plot of the original film, transferring the action from dystopian Paris to dystopian Detroit, where city officials have walled in the crime-ridden housing projects known as Brick Mansions in an attempt to protect the rest of the city. Walker plays Damien, the world's most obvious undercover cop, who's tasked with taking down Brick Mansions' deadly crime kingpin Tremaine (RZA) and finds an unlikely ally in pint-sized, free running ex-con Lino (District 13 star David Belle).
Unfortunately for fans of both the original film and Paul Walker, Brick Mansions is flat out terrible from beginning to end. The performances are so wooden that it's a surprise the actors don't splinter when they smash into things, while Belle has been the victim of a particularly bad dubbing job that seems to vary from scene to scene. Similarly, RZA's character barely even makes sense: one minute he's a ruthless crimelord, the next he's a charming man-of-the-people type with ambitions to run for Mayor.
In addition, editor-turned-director Camille Delamarre has no feel for action scenes and, aside from Belle showcasing his bouncing-off-buildings skills in an opening sequence, the film lacks anything resembling a decent set piece, while the atrocious script is laden with painfully dull dialogue and seems uninterested in its own (admittedly ridiculous) plot. Ultimately, this is a particularly pointless and badly made remake that fails to improve on either District 13 or its 2009 sequel, District 13: Ultimatum.
General release from Fri 2 May.