District 13 Review

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Disctrict 13 is a bricked off slum, into which a rogue cop and the prince of the ghetto must venture to retrieve a bomb, and rescue a damsel in distress.


Trashed in France for pirating Escape From New York, this thick-ear of an actioner rattles through a formulaic plotline to a pleasingly unexpected conclusion. Scripted by Luc Besson and Larbi Naceri, it touches on the issues of exclusion that prompted the trouble in Paris earlier this year. But its main concern is putting vigilante David Belle and maverick cop Cyril Raffaelli through as many chases and fights as possible, after they break into a ghetto to retrieve both a stolen WMD and Belle’s sister.

Parisian future hell and includes fine displays of that Ong-Bak style of martial artistry (not to mention plenty of jumping from building to building) that looks as if it hurts the whackers as much as the whackees.

The cast hurls itself into the comic-book violence, while the stunt choreography and razor-sharp editing are exhilarating.

You could generate the script with a computer programme, but the thumpery has an effective, hand-made feel.