Two years have passed since
elite police officer Damien Tomasso (Cyril Raffaelli) teamed
up with reformed vigilante Leito (parkour originator David
Belle) to save the notorious District 13, a racially charged
ghetto populated by violent drug dealing gangs and vicious
killers. Despite government promises to maintain order, the
state of the district has deteriorated, and a group of corrupt
cops and elected officials are conspiring to cause civil unrest
in D13, looking for an excuse to raze the area and cash in
on its redevelopment. Now Damian and Leito must join forces
again, and use their mastery of martial arts and their unique
physical skills to bring peace to the neighborhood by any
means necessary... before a proposed nuclear air-strike wipes
it off the map. With bone crunching fights and death defying
leaps, this adrenaline charged sequel takes the groundbreaking
parkour action from DISTRICT B13 to thrilling new heights.
Action stars such as Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao might have unwittingly invented 'Parkour' (according to wikipedia, it’s the art of training to overcome any obstacle within one's path by adapting one's movements to the environment) back in the eighties. Don’t believe me? Just watched any of their past action movies, observe their moves and spot the similarities as displayed by David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli in "District 13: Ultimatum".
With Chan and Yuen Biao already past their prime, in come Raffaelli who plays a supercop like police officer, Damien Tomasso who single-handedly took down a bunch of mafias and thugs in a night club with his agility and kicking. And yes, he even makes sure a Van Gough painting survives the mayhem and rightfully returned to the police force. If this is not enough, his buddy Leito (parkour originator David Belle) leaps from one building to another just to escape from his pursuers demonstrating the redundancy of an elevator.
District 13: Ultimatum is strictly a movie that survives purely on all the neatly choreographed fights and stuntwork. Without it, the story by Luc Besson is almost preposterous to even explain on papers. In a nutshell, Damien is framed by a corrupted internal security department which is keen to cash on the redevelopment of the ghetto and the only way for Damien to clear his name is to join hands with his old buddy, Leito to bring the matter to the attention of the President. While it is supposedly a follow-up to the original 2004 box-office hit, District 13, Ultimatum can be safely viewed on its own unless you craved to know the history of District 13 and how the relationship between Damien and Raffaelli came about.
Still lacking the believability of professional actors, David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli nevertheless breeze through the entire duration effortlessly with charming bantering and light-heartening humour courtesy of Besson’s scribing. Obviously shot on a shoestring budget, District 13: Ultimatum is clearly aimed at action fanatics. Never mind the poor set designs, choppy editing and laughable script for that matter. Most importantly, everything is accomplished without the aid of visual effects.
Like I mentioned, this is a movie for those audience who missed all those classic action movies that Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung frequently churned out in the eighties. They leap, fall, land, twist easily without the assistance of wires and trampolines back then. But instead of a few Chinese men, we have David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli for now. It’s a silly fun romp that will make you craving for more.
Production Diary runs almost 34 minutes long and features B-roll footages, interviews with the main cast and crew and even a set visit by District 13 director Pierre Morel. The DVD supplements also come with the Teaser Trailer and a Photo Gallery.
Go for the French Dolby Digital 5.1 and get ready for some big bang boom surround sound through the audio channels. The visual presentation looks at times somewhat fuzzy and soft possibly due to the intended grittiness.
Review by Linus Tee
Posted on 10 August 2010