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Thursday, January 14, 2010

DISTRICT 13 - ULTIMATUM (BANLIEUE 13 - ULTIMATUM)

By D.E.Levine

Director: Patrick Alessandrin
Writer: Luc Besson
Producer: Luc Besson
Executive Producer: Didier Hoarau
Supervising Producer: Franck Lebreton
Line Supervisor (Serbia): Andjelija Vlaisavljevic
Cast: Cyril Raffaelli, David Belle, Phillippe Torreton, Daniel Duval, Elodie Yung, MC Jean Gab't, James Deano, Laouni Mouhid, Fabrice Feltzinger, Pierre-Marie Mosconi, Johnny Amaro et al.
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Country of Origin: France
Language: French with English subtitles
Genre: Action

Although a sequel to an earlier film, this film is fun and fast paced. Taking place in 2013 we see that nothing has changed in District 13, a slum where conditions have gotten worse despite the promises of the French government to make things better.

The action packed physical scenes, which have humor incorporated, remind viewers of early Jackie Chan action films with the lead, Cyril Raffaelli, choreographing and performing the fight sequences.

Capt. Damien Thomas and Leito perform outrageous and creative physical feats as they battle the bad guys, who are corrupt police. When an elite squad of killer police who stage a police assassination inside District 13, their corrupt boss attempts to convince the President to raze the entire district.

There are fight scenes, gang scenes and chase scenes galore. And the sets are unusual and modern whether interior businesses or outside markets. Ethnic lines are visibly drawn, splitting the district into areas controlled by black, white, Arab and Asian warlords.

While U.S. audiences may not recognize the cast, it includes French rappers and TV stars. Writer Besson, who developed the series throws in references to the French 2005 riots and adds enough social messaging to make many significant points.

This should be more than an art house film with the right exposure, since it's fun, delivers a social message and is visually stimulating. Besson already has a following and since the messages delivered are universal and the action is fast and fun, it's not necessary to understand French.