STARRING: Cyril Raffaelli, David Belle, Philippe Torreton, Daniel Duval, Elodie Yung

2009, 101 Minutes, Directed by: Patrick Alessandrin

District 13: Ultimatum has nothing to do with the recent Neil Blomkamp movie District 9 in which alien “prawns” make the mistake of seeking asylum on Planet Earth.

It is instead a somewhat belated sequel to a 2004 French movie titled District B13 which was produced by Luc Besson (Big Blue, Leon) set in a near future Paris in which the social and criminal underclasses are walled off in an area known as District B13 – the city planners no doubt having seen Escape from New York one time too many . . .

By the end of the first movie France’s politicians have promised to break down the wall around District B13, but we all know how much politicians’ promises are worth. Three years later the wall around the district is still there and things are as bad as ever. A corrupt faction in the government however wants to get rid of the district permanently – an area which is ruled by gang lords and which the police are too afraid to enter – but for all the wrong reasons.

Some shady real estate property types named Harriburton (ho, ho) wants to gentrify the area – that is, forcibly evict the area’s underclass inhabitants and then build some high-rises for yuppies. District 13B is apparently a prime piece of real estate and location as we know is everything after all. So the corrupt government officials fake an incident in which some innocent street cops are “massacred” by a Nigerian street gang.

Soon pressure is on the French president to demolish District B13 by bombing it from the air (a bit extreme – but one supposes that they are really afraid to enter the area). Only problem (for the conspirators) is that the two heroes from the previous movie - Damien and Leito (David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli) – have evidence to, er, blow the whole plot sky high. Soon every cop in Paris are hot on their trail . . .

"Regularly jumps the shark . . . with glee!"

The plot isn’t however what District 13: Ultimatum is all about. You may think that the film wants to make some sort of comment of the social and class divisions in multiethnic modern French society, but you’d be wrong. (Goofy scenes in which the five gang lords that rule District B13 get all chummy with the French president has to be seen to be believed!)

District 13: Ultimatum is exactly the sort of thing that Jason Statham makes now that he has taken over from Jean Claude van Damme and Steven Seagal as the king of straight-to-DVD action movie fodder.

It’s all about the action scenes and while one sequence in which the impossibly agile David Belle jumps from rooftop to rooftop and clambers up walls isn’t as impressive as it as in the first movie, there are still lots of over-the-top action in the film.

We particularly liked a scene in which one of the heroes takes a leaf from the Jackie Chan action scene book and uses a priceless Van Gogh painting to beat up some bad guys – all without getting a single scratch on it! The movie regularly jumps the shark with glee, but it also unfortunately loses steam halfway through and the ending is about as anticlimactic as a block party.

Ultimately District 13: Ultimatum is exactly the sort of energetic, brainless actioner that will go down better as a DVD rental than on the big screen. Not as good or fresh as the first movie, but a fun outing if you’re willing to excuse the inane dialogue and storyline, not to mention the movie’s doofus sense of humor.


Watch Trailer / Clip:






blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Most Popular

Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).