A Review of District B13

This film is bad.
That is going to be the ultimate result of this rambling.  This film is far below what Luc Besson is capable of.  It features terrible performances, a premise that strains credibility, and contains a political message that, while ultimately correct, is something that never really needed to be said.  It is like sitting through a three hour one man show about mitosis, only to have it end with a message about the importance of not littering.  We knew so already..why on earth did we need to sit through your poorly thought out work to hear it again?

Although District B13 doesn’t sound nearly as boring as that.  In the future, Paris has secluded a portion of the city.  In this area, all the poor immigrants and criminals are forced to live in poverty.  The man who runs the organized crime in the area is a man named Taha.  He somehow acquires a bomb that could level the entire area.  A police officer is sent in to disarm the bomb, and receives help from one of the locals who is looking to save his sister from Taha.
The planning stages must have been fun and I must confess this sounds like an intriguing premise.  But nothing, absolutely nothing, is made of it.  The district looks like a regular run down slum.  There is no personality to it.  It could be any slum in any city.  What makes this one so special?  I have no idea.  Neither does the film.  I suppose this was meant to be a comment about how France treats its immigrants by placing them in locations that are far from desirable, even to the stray dogs.  But that never comes across.  Such a statement would have required tact and thought, not to mention people who looked like outsiders.  All the inhabitants look like American action heroes, not French immigrants.

So, already, the film stumbles and never regains its footing.  The title location is a boring place that the film forces you to visit a location that no one should have to.  And then, instead of showing why the location was interesting to begin with, it only offers a peek.  The film is 81 minutes long.  This is not a short film,  this is an anorexic film.  This is in fact the first bad film that I actually wish was longer.  I am sure there are good ideas present, but they are never expanded upon.  I wanted to see more of K2, but no such luck.  And since half teh scnes are action scenes, the story is officially given the back seat.

The strength of Luc Besson’s other works (particularly Leon), were the characters, not the action.  They were given back stories.  They acted like people.  They had hobbies, they had eccentricities.  First and foremost, they were people.  These are caricatures.  I felt nothiong about them.  The film could have ended with the bomb exploding, and we would have been n worse off.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about the ending.  Apparently, the French government anted the bomb to go off so they could level the district.  This is a bad thing.  Yes, that is the ultimate message of the movie. The government must take care of the “downtrodden.”  So, the film ultimately wanted to describe how bombing poor people is not a way to properly address the situation?  Thank you for this wonderful epiphany. I honestly had no idea.

Honestly, such a premise was already known.  I cannot think of anyone (outside of maybe Tom Delay) who would support such a measure.  Look around.  Do you see any developed nation even considering this? This isn’t dystopian, merely pretentious. This was the final nail in the coffin for the movie.  Forcing me to sit through a boring set with asinine cliches for characters, only to then reveal that I should not hate them? Besson has done much better.  He will do better in the future.  Forget this cinematic equivalent of a blank round and go seek out his better works

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