District B13 2004 ★★★½

An ultra-stylish action film with brilliantly choreographed action sequences that are challenged only by an exhausting pace and truly death-defying stunts. Cinematographer Pierre Morel utilizes his talents in his feature film debut. When the action erupts, his impressive directing talents are dazzling.

Parkour founder David Belle brings his jaw-dropping sport to the screen and is a perfect fit as one of the leads in this flair driven thriller. His partner is none other than martial artist/stuntman, Cyril Raffaelli. Both men steal the show as the fight they way through a dystopian Paris. The film works best as one continuous action scene, and when things slow down, and a politically driven plot is incorporated, its attempts at commentary lack any true intelligence. Luckily Belle and Rafaelli have macho charm to spare, and their dialogue battles with Bibi Naceri's sadistic crime boss are well done.

Co-written by Luc Bresson, his influence is everywhere - from the stylish visuals to the subtle political commentary. But Morel never fully embraces the layered plotting, making it all a fairly one-dimensional affair. Nonetheless, he has such a keen understanding of action films and what makes them work so well, and that is how he makes everything work so well. District B13 is a wet dream for action junkies, with stunts of the fullest authenticity, a thriller that will keep your fullest attention.

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