2014 Running time: 91 Certificate: 15 Not yet rated

Synopsis

The late Paul Walker's last big screen appearance proper sees him play an undercover cop who hooks up with a free-running rebel (David Belle) to take on a Detroit crime lord (RZA) plotting to detonate a neutron bomb. Co-written by Luc Besson, this remake of the French thriller District 13 serves up preposterous action, including bundles of heart-stopping parkour.

Director

  • Camille Delamarre

Cast

  • Paul Walker

  • David Belle

  • RZA

  • Robert Maillet

  • Catalina Denis

Review

Paul Walker teams up with parkour prince David Belle for his last completed big screening outing (ahead of Fast & Furious 7), a suitably frenetic action remake relocated from Paris to Detroit.

Belle reprises his character - a free-running anti-mob hero - from the French thriller District 13 while Walker plays Damien Collier, an athletic undercover cop seeking revenge for the death of his father.

The find themselves unlikely allies in Brick Mansions, a vast, derelict Detroit housing project that has been walled off by the city authorities who have big plans to turn it into a lucrative yuppie development.

The desolate manor is ruled over by dope kingpin Tremaine (RZA), a ruthless overlord who is massively hacked off by Belle's Lino after a big stash of cocaine was washed down the plughole by the anti-drugs crusader.

He kidnaps Lino's ex-friend Lola (Denis) as a means of getting to him but remains unaware that Collier has been tasked with infiltrating Tremaine's degenerate empire and shutting him down. There's also the small problemette that the mobster has pinched a neutron bomb and has strapped it to a missile pointed downtown.

If you're happy with the preposterous nature of this cartoonish retread, there's fun to be had thanks to a series of inventive action setpieces, particularly showcasing Belle's gravity-defying abilities to bounce off buildings and launch himself off walls.

Walker just about keeps up the pace and his pomposity-free demeanour works well to offset a story that bursts with ghetto cliches - from the fish-netted vamp to legions of swaggering punks bristling with lethal hardware.

It will never trouble the esteemed members of the Academy...but that probably wouldn't have bothered Paul Walker too much.

Tim Evans

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