Wednesday, February 25, 2009
DVD REVIEW: District B13...
So, I love Netflix. First, there is no late fees for renting films. That's all great and stuff, but what really pushes my love over the cliff is their Watch Instantly feature. One is able to watch a film from their library at any point in time, if you either have a computer or a set top TV box. I've seen such films as Angel-A, and The City Of Lost Children via this service, and I also had the chance to check out a solid, adrenaline fueled, action film from Taken director, Pierre Morel. It's called District B13.
Simply put, District B13 is a film set in the ghettos of 2010 Paris, a tough undercover cop and an ex-thug are sent inside the hostel District B13 to defuse a stolen neutron bomb. That's about the extent of the story, and 85 Parkour filled minutes later, that's all one really needs for one hell of an action film.
District B13 is the first feature film from d.p. Pierre Morel, who has become famous as the helmer of the recent action hit, Taken. It was written by Luc Besson, and this group, Besson and his proteges have really become the Apatow crew of action films. From this, to the Transporter, to films like Angel-A and even classics like Leon The Professional or the Fifth Element, they have become the go to group for action films.
This is one of the best of the group. It takes the opening of Casino Royale, the parkour scene, spans it over 85 minutes, and shoots it like a Guy Ritchie action film. This is the epitome of an economic action film. It's a brisk 85 minutes, and there are only a couple of shots that could have been taken out. About two days ago, I watched Red Eye, which if you have seen that, has a similar feel, at least pace wise. B13 is a lot more action packed, but both films have a really brisk pace, and don't like to waste shots.
The cinematography for this film is also quite well done. Where as in Taken it's a much more monochromatic look, with a lot of dark blues and blacks, this feels a lot more warm. Another thing that makes this film superior to his other work, is the fight sequences. In Taken, and a lot of other recent action films, they take a "Bourne-esque" approach to the action. The camera is placed literally in the middle of the action, and it's much more kinetic, but it's also quite confusing. However, in this film, it takes a page out of the Ong Bok book. The camera is placed further back, allowing for the same amount of energy in the frame, but it allows the viewer to know who is who and what is going on inside of the said frame. The stunts here are stunning, and along with the music, there really isn't a dull moment.
Sure, there is a bit of a lag once the cop is introduced, but once the proverbial shit hits the stylized fan, it is one of the best, or at least most fun, action films I've seen in a long time.
DISTRICT B13 - 8/10
Action packed debut of Pierre Morel, and while flawed, particularly in the cop character, the fight sequences alone warrant this films high rating. If you want a deep, thought provoking film, skip it. But if you want something that makes the action of an action more than just superfluous, check this film out. It's art in District B13...
Check out a few of the fight scenes here...
Go see something good!
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