District 13: Ultimatum (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner01/10/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 101 mins

Entertaining, fast-paced action thriller with some delightfully demented set-pieces and strong performances from Belle and Raffaelli.

What's it all about?
Written and produced by Luc Besson and directed by Patrick Alessandrin, District 13: Ultimatum (not to be confused with District 9) is a sequel to 2004's hit thriller District 13, in which free running cop Damien (Cyril Raffaelli) teamed up with his free running criminal adversary Leito (David Belle) in order to recover a stolen bomb in the walled-off District 13 of 2010 Paris. Despite promises from the government to dismantle the wall, things still haven't changed three years later and shady behind-the-scenes government types (working for a company called, none-too-subtly, Harriburton) attempt to persuade the weak-willed new president (Philippe Torreton) to take drastic action against District 13 in the wake of several outbreaks of violence and riots.

Aware of Damien's supercop reputation, sinister secret service honcho Gassman (Daniel Duval) has him framed and arrested before the action kicks off. However, when Leito uncovers evidence of secret service involvement in precipitating the riots, he breaks Damien out of jail and the two of them reteam in order to kick some Harriburton ass.

The Good
There's a likeable chemistry between Raffaelli (who looks like a cut-price Vin Diesel) and Belle (who, in turn, resembles a beefed-up Aidan Gillen) and it's a pleasure to see them bouncing off each other, both verbally and physically. The supporting cast don't get much of a look-in, but Duval makes a suitably slimy villain and there's striking work from Elodie Yung as a gang leader with an extremely dangerous ponytail.

The Great
The plot is largely ridiculous (and slightly marred by an anti-climactic ending), but the rest of the film is so much fun that you won't really mind. The chase scenes are exciting and breathlessly executed, the set-pieces are delightfully demented (e.g. driving a car through an office block) and the script has a lot of fun with the characters (for example, an opening sequence involving Damien being undercover as a (cough) beautiful woman).

Worth seeing?
In short, District 13: Ultimatum is a hugely entertaining thriller with likeable characters and terrific action sequences. Recommended.

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Content updated: 19/07/2018 14:30

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