B13 or Banlieue 13 (District 13 in English) is another great example.
B13 has a simple, believable enough plot that manages to satisfy and stages some of the best action sequences of the year. The French know that a movie filled with great action doesn’t have to be mind numbingly stupid. Action fans aren’t necessarily dimwits. Somebody call Rob Cohen and fill him in.
Sure, since they’re French they throw in a lot of political theory and blast both anarchists and reactionary law and order types, but they also fill the screen with incredible action, thrills and fighting. Some of the philosophising seems a little forced but it all sounds better en francais.
The fighting is especially hot as the cast uses the unique discipline parkour. This method of movement employs kinetics and allows people to scale walls and leap tall buildings. No wires here. These guys accomplish the impossible feats seen in Asian cinema without the cables. It’s exhilarating to watch and obviously a lot of fun to pull off. It adds that extra je ne sais quoi that sets this film apart.
The story is straight forward. It’s 10 years in the future and the French government has become so tired of dealing with the poorest and most dangerous neighbourhood in Paris that they wall it off, leaving the residents to their own devices. Two men, for different reasons, attempt to take on the drug lords and crooked police to save B13. Then the fun ensues.
Forget Hollywood’s impossible missions, B13 is the action flick of the summer.