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Cyril Raffaelli
David Belle
Dany Verissimo.
Pierre Morel.
Running Time
85 minutes

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District 13
Average French thriller with a few surprises

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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.

District 13

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.

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Average user rating for District 13
Empire Star Rating


Saw this last night. Full of energy with heart pumping set pieces, the first one being a standout, as well as the fight between the two leads at the end. Not much of a story but just enough to keep you interested between fights and chases.   Renting the sequel as we speak. ... More

Posted by jcthefirst at 16:20, 21 September 2010 | Report This Post


Watched this for the first time last night. WOW the set pieces are spectacular, especially the free running chase scene at the beginning. Yes the plot is paper thin but this movie was always about the action rather than the plot! And after seeing Casino Royale at the cinema, I can see where bond ripped off their seen from. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MuckyMuckMan at 11:20, 23 March 2007 | Report This Post

adrenalin-pumped discipline that sets this Luc Besson-penned action-comedy apart from Escape From New York and other similar movies... Especially given that some stunts were carried out without CGI and it shows, the action sequences making you gasp ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 19:03, 05 March 2007 | Report This Post

Escape from La Haine

A very enjoyable action film, if formulaic. ... More

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Posted by stevos at 14:42, 12 November 2006 | Report This Post

District 13

It's 2010 and the French have come up with a solution for dealing with their most feared criminals and undesirable citizens that live in the ghettos of Paris - build a bloody great wall around the whole of the city and post armed police on all the exits. No one gets in and no one gets out. Taha (Bibi Naceri) runs the city. With the help of his top henchman (Tony D'Amario) and his own personal army, he controls everything. But when Leito (David Belle) has other ideas and starts dealing dru... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by kevin stanley at 21:21, 23 October 2006 | Report This Post

Wow! Frances answer to Ong-Bak really doesnt disappoint. This film feels fresh, and its damn exciting. At just 1 hour 20 mins its just the right length and i found myself almost jumping up and down with anticipation to see the next scene. The action is what really makes this film, simply breathtaking stunts and brutal fights which have all the "wow!" factor that Ong-Bak did. This film is colourful, way over the top and in a way quite childish but that is what makes it so much fun, it d... More

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Posted by dj vivace at 12:23, 05 October 2006 | Report This Post


I'm not usually too much into action films and saw this cause there wasnt nything else on at the time i wanted, but it really surprised me + i thou it was really cool, well-paced and fun. Some of the stunts were really amazing, visuals were nice and interesting and action very excting.;) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Those_wedontspeak_of at 00:22, 18 August 2006 | Report This Post

RE: Great Action, in Leaps and Bounds

I could think of worse ways to spend 90 minutes but I thought this film was distinctly average to tell the truth, after the first 20 minutes (which were kind of impressive in a Fincher goes chop socky manner) or so it didn't really have anything new to show, just the same leaping about while some sub-Prodigy beats were looped in the background. ... More

Posted by Indio at 21:11, 18 July 2006 | Report This Post

RE: Great Action, in Leaps and Bounds

Luc Besson has been a busy boy recently – although he’s barely been sat in the director’s chair for the last decade, he’s proven to be a profilic writer and producer, with over 30 credits to his name over the last two years. Completed in 2004, clips of District 13 began appearing on the internet a while back and generated a fair amount of buzz, thanks to action scenes of astounding physical agility; like another of Besson’s executive producer credits, Ong Bak, it didn’t rely on wire work or CGI... More

Posted by Ali Baba at 23:00, 13 July 2006 | Report This Post

District B13

There's style over substance and then there's Luc Besson. In the past decade Besson's name has become a byword for flashy, slick and generic actions films which display a blatant disregard for such fripperies as character or story to concentrate on elaborate fight scenes and huge explosions. Besson hasn't directed these films - having not directed since 1999's atrocious Arcinstead he has acted as producer and often writer on the pictures, allowing a number of young directors to take the reins.... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Philconcannon at 23:01, 12 July 2006 | Report This Post

Best Action of 2006.

In a word..... wow. As Timon said, plot is forgettable (something about a stolen bomb and a kidnapped sister) but in this case, that's not what you pay for. What you do get for your fiver is some terrific, bone crunching, jaw dropping, gravity defying fights and chases which easily out do any action in any other film I've seen this year. Personal favourite would be the stunt where the guy runs up the wall and dives through the small glass window at the top. Hugely, hugely enterta... More

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Posted by Bulletproof_Monk at 11:32, 12 July 2006 | Report This Post

RE: district 13

Cool. I'll go and see it today then. But if I don't like it, you can pay for my petrol. ... More

Posted by Castor Troy at 11:31, 10 July 2006 | Report This Post

RE: district 13

Yes it is.   There are many many many more spectacular free chasing set pieces and fights. ... More

Posted by Timon at 11:04, 10 July 2006 | Report This Post

RE: district 13

Having watched the chase through the apartments and the fight with the steering wheel on YouTube, is it still worth going to see? The thing I love about that chase it that it is carried out with such high tempo. They're running at full speed all the time and it makes it that little bit cooler and realistic. ... More

Posted by Castor Troy at 10:33, 10 July 2006 | Report This Post

RE: district 13

Very cool.   A script you could write on the back of a postage stamp but with the two leads performing such physical feats that we wish our British and American counterparts could do, it's a gripping watch.   The free running is a joy to behold and the lead who is clearly the French Vin Diesel with 10 times the acting ability, charm and magnetism is a great hero while his partner (the French Colin Farrell) also performs similiar bone crunching spectacles. ... More

Posted by Timon at 09:58, 10 July 2006 | Report This Post

district 13

i recon this film will be classy, mainly becuase i do parkour! so obviously i want to see this film not only just to watch it but also to learn belle's style of fluidity when moving from obstacle to obstacle. however i have seen clips frm the french version done a while back and the parkour in that was amazing. for axample he got down a 40ft building roughly in 15seconds using the techniques so the film has got to be decent when it comes out. ... More

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Posted by koo1paul at 20:26, 11 June 2006 | Report This Post

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