To the average movie goer Brick Mansions is just another high octane action movie, but to the more clued in film fan this is the remake of 2004 french film District 13. I only worked it out thanks to spotting this information on Twitter, so between then and now I did see the original movie meaning that I watched Brick Mansions through the lens of District 13, something that is quite frustrating as I compared them at almost every turn.
I was quite surprised as to just how similar some scenes actually were, like there is giving nods to the original and then there is simply lifting scenes out of it and placing them in the remake. Brick Mansions had a lot of the latter, however there were a good few additions and changes made. Most of my criticisms unfortunately do come from changes that they have made. Although I feel that if I hadn’t of seen the original that these things may not have bothered me, as a stand alone film I am sure I would have enjoyed Brick Mansions a lot more and it is a really good movie – but as soon as it is compared to District 13 there is a clear winner and it is the original. At first I was impressed by the villain played by Rza. However this character quickly went downhill and underwent a quite amazing transformation from vicious drug dealer to candidate for mayor, which unfortunately was quite unbelievable but as I say I was impressed to start with. More positive changes that were made include some great car chases and a bit more humour – however there was a real vibe of Hollywood cheese to the film which I don’t think did it any favours.
David Belle returns 10 years on to reprise his role as Leito, Belle actually is the founder of parkour and I was impressed that he was still able to pull off some great stunts and at no point did I doubt his ability. Although he must have have experienced some crazy deja-vu whilst shooting practically the same movie again! Paul Walker puts in a strong performance and has made clear improvements from films such as Vehicle 19. This was definitely a move in the right direction for Walker and it did increase his credibility as an actor. It is a real shame that we lost him last year, rightfully so there is a tribute to Paul after the film. Although it is a real shame that he is no longer with us he can be proud of his last completed film as I did and I am sure many other people will really enjoy watching him here. I know my reservations about this film stem mainly from liking the original so much, however that is the nature of a remake and the film makers should be aware of this. However I would think that the masses of people seeing this movie probably won’t have seen the original and I would be surprised if they didn’t explicitly enjoy this effort.
BIGGEST FLAW – Character development of the villain
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – I would say it is Walkers strongest solo effort that I have seen
Rating – 7/10