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District 13: Ultimatum (DVD Review)

21 Apr, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Street 4/27/10
$26.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for some violence, language and drug material.
Stars Cyril Raffaelli, David Belle.

In true Napoleonic fashion, this futuristic sequel finds Paris continuing to wall off a section (“District 13”) of the city to house its incorrigibles, including an international cast of bad guys, gals and related slum rats.

Enter one immoral bureaucrat in charge of a rogue government security unit (DISS) that frames a hit on the police to convince the president that leveling District 13 (and its inhabitants) would be in the best interests of society, job growth, future votes and a new housing project by an evil contractor named (don’t laugh) Harriburton.

So much for the inane plot from writer Luc Besson (Taken, From Paris With Love, La Femme Nikita).

What really drives this movie is the jaw dropping “l’art du déplacement” or “art of flight” stunts performed — as in the original District 13 — by scrupulous cop Damien (stuntman Cyril Raffaelli) and buddy Leito, a District 13 resident with a conscience (David Belle, creator of the parkour stunts).

While DISS attempts to keep Damien out of the picture by imprisoning him on trumped-up drug charges, it’s merely a preamble for Leito to break Damien out of jail and for the two of them to elude all manner of pursuers from roof tops, through windows, balconies, air shafts, stairwells, or any other improbable obstacle.

However impressive the chase scenes, choreographed fights and Spider-Man leaps and bounds (all real and without webbing!), Ultimatum in the end strangely morphs into a morality tale leaving our heroes with little to do in terms of further messing the bad guys up.

A catchy French rap tune in the closing credits does bring back the vibe — sort of.


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