‘District B13’


For the twin offenses of being French and not starring Tom Cruise, District B13—a fanboy mash-up of John Carpenter’s greatest hits, brought to you by the Luc Besson laboratories—is getting exiled to the art house ghetto. Spread the word: This delirious import is the most (maybe the only) fun action movie of the summer—swift, funny, filled with actual stunts instead of digitized mayhem, and primed at a moment’s notice for megaton ass-kicking. Set in 2010 Paris, it fuses Escape From New York‘s futuristic city-as-prison concept with Assault on Precinct 13‘s bristling political subtext, as an undercover cop (Cyril Raffaelli) and a convict (David Belle) battle their way through a walled-in underclass banlieue searching for a massive “clean bomb.” The plot is mostly straight-to-video silliness, except for a final kicker that feeds off the real-life unrest seething in Paris’s strife-torn suburbs. But Belle—a master of parkour, the French extreme sport/martial art devoted to the casual hurdling of physical obstacles—brings an exhilarating athleticism to the many chases and fights. I’d trade all of M:i:III‘s 126 minutes for one 1.7-second shot of Belle hurtling himself in a single motion through a locked door’s transom.