Monday, May 26, 2014

Movie Review: "Brick Mansions" (2014)

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Movie"Brick Mansions"
Director: Camille Delamarre
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

In a near-future Detroit, a subsection of the city known as Brick Mansions has been quarantined off from the rest of the metropolis. In this area, there is no medical care, no schooling, no police, no fire department, or any public services for that matter. It exists in a constant state of anarchy run by whatever criminal comes to be king. Damien Collier (Paul Walker) is an undercover cop in Detroit who has been tasked with a special assignment to infiltrate Brick Mansions and find and disarm a bomb that is set to hit the metropolis. Damien's father was a cop, too, before he was killed in action by the current ruler of Brick Mansions is named Tremaine Alexander (RZA), which only fuels Damien's desire to take Alexander down. He enlists the help of Lino (David Belle), an ex-soldier who is being imprisoned for killing a dirty cop. Lino has an obsession with cleaning up and getting drugs out of Brick Mansions in order to make it a better place to live. The pair must work together to finish the job.

Not to be rude, but we're not entirely sure this movie would have gotten a wide-scale release had it not been for the untimely, tragic passing of Paul Walker. May he rest in peace.

That aside, we didn't know anything going into this movie about its plot other than it had Paul Walker in it. It turns out, this is an American re-telling of a French-Canadian movie called "District 13." The other main character in "Brick Mansions," Lino, played by David Belle, is the founder of Parkour, another thing we didn't know. During the course of the movie, BigJ and I both thought this was a 90-minute Parkour advertisement, and that this movie only existed to show off "cool" stunts in freestyle running and jumping.

For a 90-minute movie, it moves pretty slowly. The dialogue seems B-movieish but without any irony or finesse. The acting is pretty piss-poor. RZA's accent seems to change a couple times throughout the movie. He starts out Jamaican and then ends the movie as an east coast American. I hate to say this, but I never thought Paul Walker was that good of an actor while he was with us. Please don't take this as disrespect. The Parkour gets old after about 30 minutes because it seems so unbelievable. Lino can get away just by jumping through windows and across buildings, but the thugs tasked to kill him armed with semi-automatic weapons can shoot dozens of rounds and still manage to miss him, all while keeping their dumbfounded looks across their faces. The big twist at the end of the movie is all for naught because it is contrived and does not seem to make sense. It's not surprising, it seems sloppily handled, and

The social commentary (class warfare) is interesting, but the vessel that gets us there is pretty bad. I think it could make a compelling subject for another movie with different actors in a few years time. That being said, if you like Parkour, you'll probably enjoy this movie because it covers about 75% of it. From what I've heard, the original is pretty good and this remake is pointless (as many remakes are). This movie seems like it was just another excuse in a vast line of excuses to make another damn car chase/gunfire/bang-bang-shoot-em-up film.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 27%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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