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Screen » Film

Parallel Parkouring

Too much plot, not enough jumping

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Brick Mansions is the American remake of a 10-year-old French action movie where people jump around a lot. District B13 was made at the dawn of cinema's parkour craze in 2004, while Brick Mansions arguably represents its dusk. For the remake, French jumpy man David Belle reprises his supporting lead role from the original film, joined now by Fast & Furious alum Paul Walker in one of the last projects Walker completed before his death last year.

Brick Mansions actually has quite a bit going for it: Walker and Belle have chemistry, and the rest of the cast seems to be having fun. There's some inventive fight choreography, and the production design suggests that this might be one of those good-bad movies. Unfortunately, Brick Mansions is rather less than the sum of its parts. One problem is the editing, which doesn't trust the clearly stunt-experienced (and often shirtless) cast to do their thing, opting instead to flail the camera around them like a palsying spaniel.

The other issue is the plot, which got more convoluted in its trip across the pond. In the year 2018, Detroit builds a big wall around its slums—now they're really dangerous and full of drugs and classic cars, and RZA rules it all with an iron fist that holds a gun that he shoots people with pretty regularly. Which is fine. But also there's an evil mayor and a kidnapped ex-girlfriend and a neutron bomb and Paul Walker's grandpa won't quit smoking.

This is too much going on for a movie that's only good when people are jumping out of windows, into other windows and throwing bricks at each other. When it shuts up and does that, Brick Mansions is a decent little buddy movie—but maybe wait for it to hit Netflix.

Brick Mansions

dir. Camille Delamarre

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