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Brick Mansions - Review

Brick Mansions

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

PAUL Walker has made some decent films outside of his Fast & Furious franchise (witness Takers or Eight Below) but Brick Mansions – his final completed film – sadly doesn’t rate among them.

A remake of French cult classic District 13 that pairs Walker with the Parkour-able leading man from the original (David Belle), it not only struggles to recapture that film’s magic but fails to stand up as a credible action movie in its own right.

Relocating the action from a futuristic dystopian Paris to a similarly futuristuc dystopian Detroit, the film finds Walker playing an undercover cop who is called upon to enter a notoriously rundown neighbourhood with the help of an ex-con (Belle) in order to prevent a crime lord from detonating a nuclear bomb.

There’s bucket-loads of action, the odd twist in the narrative and the mis-matched buddy framework to contend with.

But while the original Luc Besson-scripted, Pierre Morel directed film was a guilty pleasure that thrived on the breathtaking Parkour stunts at its centre, this more verbose remake struggles to regain the intensity of its predecessor and emerges as just plain silly.

New director Camille Delamarre struggles to stage a decent set piece that doesn’t feel over-edited (barring one early chase sequence involving the extremely nimble Belle) and wastes the chemistry that does clearly exist between Walker and his co-star (their banter is all too brief).

RZA’s villain Tremaine Alexander is also pantomime bad, while his story arc struggles to convince – much like most of the screenplay that seems like a particularly flimsy excuse to stage the action sequences.

There is a curiosity value to the piece that can’t be denied but Walker deserves better, as do his fans. Brick Mansions does not serve as a fitting epitaph.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 90mins
UK Release Date: May 2, 2014