A Delirious Action Import


For the twin offenses of being French and not starring Tom Cruise, District B13—a fanboy mash-up of John Carpenter’s greatest hits, brought to you by the Luc Besson laboratories —is getting exiled to the art-house ghetto. This delirious import was the most (maybe the only) fun action movie of the summer—swift, funny, filled with actual stunts instead of digitized mayhem, and primed at a moment’s notice for megaton ass-kicking. Set in 2010 Paris, it fuses Escape From New York‘s futuristic city-as-prison concept with Assault on Precinct 13‘s bristling political subtext, as an undercover cop and a convict (David Belle) battle their way through a walled-in underclass banlieue searching for a massive “clean bomb.” Belle—a master of parkour, the French extreme sport–martial art devoted to the casual hurdling of physical obstacles—brings an exhilarating athleticism to the many chases and fights. I’d trade all of M:i:III‘s 126 minutes for one 1.7-second shot of Belle hurtling himself in a single motion through a locked door’s transom. Extras include a making-of doc and an extended fight scene.