District 13: Ultimatum

Viewed – 01 Jan 2010  DVD

He confuses me, Luc Besson.  Arguably one of the coolest French directors, who gave the world the impeccable ‘Leon’, now spends most of his time writing movies for other people to direct.  Still it has to be said, they still remain very much his babies, most notably Liam Neeson vehicle ‘Taken’, ‘The Transporter’ series and now this, the follow-up to a stylish but silly thriller about a crime-ridden district in near-future Paris.  This one follows on after the events in the first movie, as corrupt special agents kill a couple of patrol officers then dump their squad car slap-bang in the middle of the district, and then create fake gunfire to cause the residents to retaliate, and capture the events on camera.  This then leads to rioting and violence as a war erupts between the authorities and local gangs, and soon the president is calling for the place to be nuked.  This at first complex set up gives the movie a better driving force than the last outing, with a bigger theme than before. 

Soon enough under-cover cop Damien (Cyril Raffaelli) is calling on old-friend and free-runner Lieto (David Belle) to break him out of custody after being set up, and before long they are recruiting the gangs to fight and prove their innocence against a corrupt regime.  What separates this from other political thrillers is the sheer style and finesse on display … the action here is all about acrobatics, kung-fu, very painful looking stunt work, car chases and a funky dance soundtrack, meaning you will struggle to catch your breath throughout the 90 minute running time.  The stronger story and better character-interplay makes this a vast improvement over the previous movie, and the action seems more drawn out and impressive.  Basically this is District 13 perfected.  I urge you to check it out.

Verdict:  4 /5

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