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District 13 [Blu-ray]
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Futuristic French action, produced by Luc Besson. In the year 2010, the violent ghettoes of Paris have been walled off from the main city, the worst of these being District 13. When gang warfare breaks out in the district, the authorities learn of a plot by gang leader Taha (Bibi Naceri) to detonate a neutron bomb, and send undercover cop Damien (Cyril Raffaelli) into the heart of the violent ghetto in order to hunt it down and defuse it, before it's too late.
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The Parkour is astonishing, it's the original, no comparison, David Belle is deemed the originator of the activity and he stars as Leito, number one hero of the District 13.
The plot is strong, in an easy way, the casting is something special, an astounding experience it must have been for everyone involved, it makes Mad Max seem quite visually and stylistically flimsy, the characters are so real, the locations too. It's a real gritty movie.
I laughed at the sharp wit of the dialogue over and again, it's always fun to ponder the French dialogue, which is sharper than the subtitles ever let on, as is so with any French movie, but the subtitles are clear and funny all the same. I didn't try the English language version, it would lose it for me, but as the move is so exactingly produced and presented it may be expected that the English dialogue version is very good.
I feel a bit like an old fogey as this film is over ten years old now, but it's freshness is not lost, it could have been made this year and be as relevant and new for an English speaking audience as it ever was when it was made. The story is a brave exploration of uncomfortable issues French cinema offers political and social comment in a manner English language productions never pull off with the same meaningful truth, in my opinion.
The bonus features are good too. Top marks.
Like many of Luc Besson's ideas, the plot is essentially silly but it really doesn't matter. This film is all about the action - which majors on 'parkour', urban free-running, and some stunning fight sequences. As good as Jackie Chan and Jason Statham at their best.
The two lead actors are perfectly matched, the choreography is outstanding, the stuns are breath-taking and the bad guys are suitably (1) bad and (2) useful punch-bags.
There's even the odd bit of witty dialogue - if you can be bothered to read the Englishs subtitles while all the action is goign on.
Pure unadultered enjoyment. Tiny little bit of social commentary and moral high ground.
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