District B13 is a place in France that in the future (sometime way back in 2010), is barricaded off with cement fences and barb wire, as it is filled with the most feral criminals in the country.
We’re introduced initially to man known as Leito, played by Parkour legend David Belle. Leito is a guy living in B13 but trying to do the right thing. He is however caught up with some nasty criminals and is forced to deal drugs in order to survive. When the men he’s caught up with come to find him, he out runs and goes straight to their leader, who has plans of kidnapping his sister.
Being one step ahead, Leito arrives, saves his sister and takes Taha, the leader of these criminals, to the police station in an attempt to slowly make things better. Seeing it as futile, with a large group of threatening men waiting outside, the police officer in charge let’s Taha go with Leito’s sister, and throws Leito in prison. The police then shut down their headquarters in B13, leaving the city of 2 million residents without any official law enforcement.
Next we meet an undercover cop named Damien. Damien busts up an operation and does a pretty impressive job of sorting out all of the men involved. Shortly after he is congratulated by being given an extremely urgent mission. A Neutron Bomb has been taken into B13 and stolen by Taha, who intends on selling it. Damien is sent in, undercover with the priority of disarming it, and using a prisoner, Leito, as his guide.
Staging a prison escape, Damien helps Leito escape alongside him and after some disagreements to the two eventually work together to disarm the bomb, which is in the hands of Taha and his men.
France hits a home run with this action movie!
So the plot isn’t fantastic but it’s the perfect setup for the kind of action both leading men have to offer, not to mention an idea that, while not exactly original, creates an awesome urban concrete jungle kind of feel.
The lawless society and rule of Taha really isolates the events of the film between the characters and Taha’s men making it easy to follow, but the overall image of Taha’s men is a really just a bunch of huge thugs. The way all of these men are very bland and similar, removes the individuality between them. This creates a feel of two individual men taking on an army of gangsters and their leader. Dead simple.
There is a bit of a twist at the end however, which leads the two main characters to fight each other. This match is something that is perfect to finish off the movie as both men are tremendously skilled – creating the ultimate final fight considering the characters and actors available.
The Action & Martial Arts
This movie has gone the same tradition as Ong Bak – no wires, no CGI, all real stunts! But the style of the action can be clearly identified by each actors background.
Cyril Raffaelli is a martial artist who has been in such top films as Kiss of the Dragon and The Transporter. His background is primarily in Shotokan Karate and Wushu, which gives him a strong base in acrobatic martial arts movements (especially the Wushu).
David Belle has been credited as the founder of Parkour (also known as free running). With such a visually exciting sport as his background, David Belle does some pretty amazing stuff in front of the camera.
The first chase scene with David Belle is just amazing, he effortlessly and smoothly jumps form platform to platform in and out of small spots and makes it look far too easy! With Cyril we see more hard edged fighting combined with some fantastic acrobatic ability – each as expected from both men.
Surprisingly though both men take a little from each other, with Cyril doing a little free running and David Belle showing off a little Martial Arts – both doing pretty well!
Each fight scene has a nonstop speed and intensity combined with incredibly impressive moves – a must see for fans of energetic martial arts fights. If you haven’t seen this movie, definitely check it out! The story is ok but the action is fantastic!