Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

District B13 (Pierre Morel, 2004)

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District B13 features parkour, which is much like Thai martial artist Tony Jaa's discipline - it's basically trying to get over anything in your path as fast as possible, whether you have to jump or vault yourself over it. Sounds cool, right? Well, in the first chase scene in B13, it really is. David Belle, who actually is the founder of parkour, stars as Leito, and in the first, unbelievable 20 minutes of the film, he runs and escapes from a huge gang with guns who are determined to capture him. Cyril Raffaelli is just as impressive in his first big fight scene, as Damien, an undercover cop who also has to fight a huge gang that wants to kill him. These two scenes, along with some appropriately hammy performances, make the first 40 minutes of B13 unbelievable.

The second half, however, is not as great as the first. Damien and Leito have to pair up and go into District B13, Paris' most dangerous walled neighborhood, to defuse a bomb and save Leito's sister. The action with the two men is not as explosive or amazing as it could have been, and the two men's tactics to get to the bomb are, well, a little boring. There is still at least one awesome parkour scene, and a good fist-fighting scene, but the action, along with the heavy-handed political message, really brings the second half down. The ending is touching, but a little sappy. The supporting cast is pretty good; Dany Verissimo, who plays Leito's badass sister Lola, reminds me of a younger Asia Argento, and I think she's going to be a next big thing, perhaps a cooler version of Audrey Tatou. All in all, great for fans of action and/or Tony Jaa-esque stunts (and who isn't!?).


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