Reel Reviews: Stunts don’t make up for story

David Belle (left) and the late Paul Walker face off for the umpteenth time in Brick Mansions.  - VVS Films
David Belle (left) and the late Paul Walker face off for the umpteenth time in Brick Mansions.
— image credit: VVS Films

It’s four years from now and the city of Detroit has walled in its downtown, for the safety of the rest of the citizens. This lawless city core is known as Brick Mansions.

An undercover cop (Paul Walker) navigates this dangerous neighbourhood with the help of an ex-con (Parkour guru David Belle) in order to bring down a crime lord (RZA) and his plot to devastate the entire city, well, sort of...

We say, “If you describe the plot out loud, you discover this film is stupid.”

TAYLOR: Well, maybe the film itself is not stupid. There’s a great deal of interesting stunt work, but the plot and the setting are probably the weakest I’ve yet reviewed. Brick Mansions, the neighbourhood, only exists to serve Brick Mansions, the movie.

Luc Besson (Transporter, The Family) wrote this turkey and to make matters worse, it’s a remake. Besson has a couple movies set in Brick Mansions, only he calls it District B13 and it’s in Paris. Consider that, as the writer of the fictions based in this universe, Besson has missed multiple opportunities to create a world that makes sense. To then people that world with cliched characters acting out a story that goes beyond improbable into unbelievable, is to have wasted 90 minutes of my time. But man, David Belle sure can jump through a window.

HOWE: Parkour, for those who don’t know, is getting from point A to B using only their bodies and surroundings to propel themselves while they try to maintain as much momentum as possible. Throw in some karate kicks and punches for good measure and you’ve got yourself some exciting fight scenes. The problem I found with Brick Mansions (there were a few, but this I found to be the main one) was that, though this was pretty cool to look at, after a while it became repetitive. It’s very similar to a video game, For example: get to here as fast as possible, beat up as many guys as possible, complete the task that has been set, repeat. Although the action and fight scenes are fine, the acting by the two leading ladies was abysmal. Their facial expressions looked painful. The way they delivered their lines was like they were reading off cue cards and the fight scene looked like it had been practised once, if at all. Terrible acting, terrible script, terrible movie.

TAYLOR: Frankly, the acting by everyone was terrible. Walker wasn’t convincing enough as the back-flipping cop. RZA has no business being in movies. And David Belle is, well, David Belle. In England this movie went straight to DVD, where it belongs.

– Taylor gives Brick Mansions 1.5 inexplicable plot lines out of 5.

– Howe gives it 1.5 meat cleavers out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears in The Morning Star Friday and Sunday,

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