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    May 30, 2014


    As satirical as it may seem like any of those movies with Luc Besson’s name attached to it, this remake is quite smart and exhilarating, if not necessarily great; as compared to those crops of (rubbish) stuffs from the famed French super producer. But “Brick Mansions” is pretentious, while also turns out to be an inferior remake product to the far more entertaining French original “District 13” itself. In some retrofit, “Brick Mansions” can be an exciting entry of pure-popcorn and delicious cheese-dipping chips to savor on an afternoon of walking through this action flick.

    Paul Walker’s penultimate movie in his career following his untimely death from an automobile accident last November should have been stronger than this cheesy movie, but it would give just enough satisfaction for the fans of the late American actor. With the original actor David Belle and Colombian’s Catalina Denis on board, the trio radiates like the sunshine boys and hot smoking chick that grease the film. But as we first suspected, the movie is indeed very similar to the original movie. The plot is not heavy and it drops in a pretty derivative essence by stuffing almost every social criticism into one.

    Set in Detroit and having segmentation like the one in Neil Blomkamp’s “District 9” and “Escape from New York”, the titular “bad” neighborhood of the city is run by violence, gun and drug. Team “good guy” is sending Damien (Paul Walker) the undercover cop in to dismantle a missile strike plan behind the walls of the neighborhood. Forced to work with Lino (David Belle) who is an ex-con, together they save the neighborhood despite having agenda nothing in common. The villain is Tremaine (RZA), a ruthless drug lord who goes after Lino for stealing his goods while also has a brief history with Damien’s father.

    The movie is obviously sold on the concept of displaying high kinetic, high vibrant action scenes which are mostly fuelled by plenty of escapist Parkour move. Obviously, our heroes are going to roam the vast zig zag neighborhood, climbing the walls, smashing the window and do the flip-back maneuvers to avoid the baddies – and yet none of the duo will be hit by any of the gazillion bullets the baddies will fired. Some of the actions may be laughable, but these were made in consistent to something you would have expected from other references like “Transporter” or “Taxi” franchise that practically runs on a similar mindless and nimble entertainment you may need to have in one of these days.

    Buy the flaws in this movie are not entirely ignorable. So much by focusing on actions, we get a watered-down version of “The Raid” where actions silence the whole character development into deafness. Saved of course the backstory involving Damien’s father, the rest is just a treadmill exercise with nothing much of the story to be told. That particular fairy-tale ending does come way too awkward and campy.

    For better or worse, “Brick Mansions” is dedicated to be a nimble and mindless action flick that impresses on the pyrotechnics but it never has any clear intention to bring out a coherent story and extended characterization to go with.

    Story: 3.0
    Casts: 3.5
    Cinematography: 3.5
    Effects: 3.5
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 12.9/20.0

    "Brick Mansions" stars Paul Walker, David Belle, RZA and Catalina Denis; presented by Relativity Media and Ram Entertainment; directed by Camille Delamarre from the screenplay by Luc Besson. The movie is rated P13 and is released in Malaysia since April 24, 2014. The movie runs about 90 minutes.
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