District B13 (Banlieue 13) (2004)

Rating: ★★★½☆

Sometimes I want Cinema with a capital C, and sometimes I just want the escapism that comes with a good action flick. I loved watching this movie for the shear pleasure of witnessing David Belle in motion. Belle is often credited with inventing the sport known as parkour (also referred to as “the art of movement”), where participants jump, vault and climb over obstacles in an exceedingly fluid manner. In this film, set in the near future of a dismal Paris, Belle plays the role of Leito, a young man who grew up in the seedy, lawless District B13, an “Escape from New York” type ghetto run by the criminal underworld. When a neutron bomb gets stolen by one of the criminal kingpins of District B13, Leito is called into service by old friend Damien (stuntman turned actor Cyril Raffaelli), a cop who specializes in deep cover assignments. The thin plot of this movie is all but forgotten and easily forgiven due to the incredible grace and athleticism of its lead actors (Raffaelli is a stuntman/martial artist turned actor), and there is an easy camaraderie between Belle and Raffaelli that makes the clichéd dialog work in the context of the film.

Directed by Pierre Morel (Taken and From Paris with Love) from a screenplay by Luc Besson (director of Angel-A, The Fifth Element, Le Femme Nikita, etc., etc.) and Bibi Naceri, District B13 is 84 minutes of pure, adrenalin filled escapism.

DVD Details:

  • Actors: Cyril Raffaelli, David Belle, Tony D’Amario, Bibi Naceri, Dany Verissimo
  • Directors: Pierre Morel
  • Writers: Bibi Naceri, Luc Besson
  • Producers: Bernard Grenet, Luc Besson, Mehdi Sayah
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen,    NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX), French (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 U.S. and Canada only.
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Magnolia
  • DVD Release Date: September 5, 2006
  • Run Time: 84 minutes

Special Features:

  • “The Making of District B13” featurette
  • Extended Fight Sequence
  • Outtakes

This DVD got rave reviews on Amazon, with an astonishing average of 4.2 out of 5 stars from ninety customer reviews.