31 Days of Action: Day 31 - District B13

For the final review of this marathon I thought it would be interesting to watch District B13 as one of the first movies at the start, and one of the main reasons I kickstarted this whole thing in the first place, was the remake Brick Mansions. I very rarely see the remake before the original so this move made sense and holy shit. Had I seen this first I would have been waaaaaay less kind to Brick Mansions. As its own movie its ok but as a remake of this? Not so much with the good anymore.

There are of course many similarities between this and Brick Mansions. Same basic plot of having David Belle (here playing Leito instead of Lino as in the remake) as one of the residents of a walled up housing project who makes a constant effort to keep at least his area drug free. The bad guy here is Taha who gets Leito sent to jail, kidnaps his sister and then eventually gets a hold of a bomb that he plans to sell to the highest bidder or else he is going to blow the fuck out of a whole lot of people. Leito teams up with an undercover cop who here looks like the offspring of Eminem and Vin Diesel in order to get in and stop the bomb, as well as rescue Leito’s sister.

Much of the same structure was also carried forward into Brick Mansions. The opening is very similar with the parkour run through the buildings in order to escape from drug dealers, the weird double back flip the two heroes do to get away from bad guys, the bomb, the plot twist regarding the bomb, it’s all familiar. The thing is, literally all of it is done better here.

This is true right from the opening scene of Leito parkouring all over these buildings. There’s no choppy editing and rapid fire quick cuts, you get a good look at all the impressive stuff Belle is doing and they let moves be strung together instead of cutting after each one. He also does more wild shit here, though he was a good deal younger for this one as well. The introduction to the cop, Damien,  is way better here as well as it features an extended fight and shootout that shows that this actor is clearly capable of some impressive stunt work as well.

Honestly this really doesn’t even need to be a lengthy review as my general summary is “it’s Brick Mansions but way better”. Seriously I can’t even begin to get into the shit they got wrong in that remake. The twist with the bomb is handled way better here as they don’t blatantly foreshadow it in the very first scene so when it actually happens you’re surprised and they some suspense out of the situation whereas in Brick Mansions you already know the truth because the movie didn’t trust you enough to not tell you right out of the gate.

In Brick Mansions, there’s the fight between the two leads and the fucking huge henchman. There you’ve seen that guy a bunch of times so you know eventually they’re going to have to fight him. Here, they wait to reveal him until right when the fight starts, only teasing it briefly beforehand that clearly there’s some monster of a human being waiting somewhere for them. It’s a much more effective approach to it.

The main antagonist is also handled way better here as without spoiling too much, in Brick Mansions he had a sudden 180 personality switch in the final act that felt completely unearned and out of nowhere. Here you end up a similar place but in a way that feels much more organic instead of completely jarring. Oh and all of the action is way better too.

I think that sums it up really. I thought Brick Mansions was pretty ok but holy shit I had no idea how much they actually botched things up in terms of being a remake of this incredibly entertaining movie. I kind of can’t wait to check out D13: Ultimatum now as man, this was a really fun one and actually a very cool way to close out this marathon.

And with that, the perhaps first but also maybe last installment of 31 Days of Action draws to a close. This one was way more stressful than the horror movie ones ever are. A missed weekend put me behind and I was never able to truly catch up so a lot of this felt more like an obligation by the end which is never fun. I do feel these reviews aren’t my best since in the final week I was just trying to pound them out as fast as possible in order to finish before the end of the month. It’s going to be a photo finish too as midnight is only 9 minutes away so I have to get this shit up now! So the main lesson is to perhaps plan for this better next time and maybe I’ll have a lot more fun in round 2.