Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. It's great to see action stars cast for their moves -- their grace in motion is thrilling -- but they also have the charisma to pull off the characters.
  2. Reviewed by: KJ Doughton
    90
    Think of "Escape from New York" starring two French Spidermen on speed, and you've got District B13, a snazzy, sensational action ride from big-bang guru Luc Besson.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    90
    Makes everything Hollywood has lately done in the action genre look clumsy, dull and stale. It is a short, nonstop stuntfest that, by going back to basics and placing them on the screen with simple, breathless stylishness, turns what is essentially a lowlife movie form into something one is not embarrassed to call "pure" cinema--all energy, movement and high kinetic wit.
  4. 88
    Like its stunt work, the movie is both ridiculously hyperactive and a muscular feat of absolute confidence. I don't expect to have a more adrenalizing time at the movies this summer.
  5. It may be subtitled, and the faces may be unfamiliar, but District B13 is the best buddy action movie around.
  6. Reviewed by: Jim Ridley
    80
    Spread the word: This delirious import is the most (maybe the only) fun action movie of the summer.
  7. Reviewed by: Nathan Lee
    80
    With backing from the film's producer and co-writer, Luc Besson, the director, Pierre Morel, mounts a breakneck B movie inspired by Hong Kong action extravaganzas, the gritty genre classics of John Carpenter and the Thai neo-kung fu parable "Ong Bak." He hasn't reinvented this particular wheel, but he gets it spinning with delirious savoir-faire.
  8. This French import is a worthy entrant into the adrenalized cadre of action films like "Run Lola Run" and "Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior" (which Besson produced). What District B13 lacks in story development it compensates for with stunningly realistic action.
  9. Besson takes a few clumsy stabs at political relevance, but it's clear that grand themes are not his priority. That's okay: His charismatic leads are martial-arts masters, and their breathtaking stunts smoothly lift the movie every time it stumbles.
  10. 75
    What you're seeing isn't wire work or CGI -- it's stunt choreography, beautifully executed, flawlessly cut together and brainlessly thrilling.
  11. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    75
    If you've been disappointed by the recent rash of mediocre blockbusters, District B13 may provide some of the mindless fun you're looking for.
  12. Reviewed by: Marc Bernardin
    75
    The big innovation here is that the two nimble leads, stuntmen-turned-stars, are devotees of parkour, a fancy French word for the fluid use of urban environments as jungle gyms.
  13. 75
    For better and worse, the entire film goes by like a theme-park cyclone ride. It makes as much sense as it needs to when you're on it. All it leaves in its wake is a residue of vertigo and speed.
  14. By most standards, District B13 is a fairly routine summer action movie, albeit one in French. But what makes it unique are the truly amazing and kinetic action scenes featuring Parkour pioneer Belle and co-star Cyril Raffaelli.
  15. 70
    Go for the dazzling, if repetitive, human stunt work. Endure the appallingly simplistic politics.
  16. Real-life events have overtaken District B13, and they give this feverish, yet oddly flat French action adventure a whiff of substance to go along with its spectacular stunts.
  17. This is every bit as silly and adolescent as you'd expect from Besson, and about as contemporary as "The Perils of Pauline." But I was delighted by the balletic and acrobatic stunts, some of which evoke Tarzan.
  18. 67
    As a brief introduction to Belle and his amazing gifts, District B 13 is a treat. But as a movie its feet are dully planted on the ground.
  19. 67
    Morel tries to keep the energy up for 85 minutes straight, but the film never manages to top itself, and in spite of the political overtones, it doesn't provide much thematic sustenance.
  20. A ridiculous but exciting action movie.
  21. 63
    District B13 is action porn. It's a series of amazingly choreographed, kinetic action sequences tied together by a laughably bad script and worse acting.
  22. Flashy camera work, a clattering techno soundtrack and impressive synchronized stunt work fill where the plot goes AWOL.
  23. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    60
    The cast hurls itself into the comic-book violence, while the stunt choreography and razor-sharp editing are exhilarating.
  24. 60
    More athletes than actors, Raffaelli and Belle are terrific when their bodies are in motion but the movie grinds to a halt when they open their mouths.
  25. 50
    District B13 looks great, but don't let those subtitles fool you. At heart, it's every bit as proudly dumb as its American counterparts.
  26. If you can still be entertained by a thriller that unabashedly borrows from others of its ilk and don't mind reading subtitles, you could do worse than District B13. It's over so fast, in a quick 85 minutes, there's scarcely time to get bored by the silly plot.
  27. Its hackneyed themes prevent the sci-fi flick from feeling like anything more than well-directed mediocrity.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 62 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Sep 8, 2014
    9
    Much like Dredd or The Raid, two of the best action movies in recent memory, this movie succeeds part in because of it's awesome setting. AlsoMuch like Dredd or The Raid, two of the best action movies in recent memory, this movie succeeds part in because of it's awesome setting. Also like those movies it provides an interesting take on the action. In this movies case it's high-flying parkour. It doesn't have much in the way of traditional action movie shoot outs or fist-fights (there are a few), instead it's got insanely fun chase scenes that feature some crazy awesome stunts.

    Even better is the fact that it's got a great plot and awesome leads in Cyril Raffaelli and David Belle, who just work great together. Don't let this movie's age trick you into thinking that all it's tricks have already been used in so many more recent action films. I'm actually shocked to say that it's content is still very unique, and even today feels like a fresh face in the action movie crowd. A must watch.
    Full Review »
  2. Jun 23, 2014
    10
    Wow just perfect . i dont care if critics dont like it or it not being nominated i love action movies every second of this movie made me dontWow just perfect . i dont care if critics dont like it or it not being nominated i love action movies every second of this movie made me dont look away didnt get boring like THE goddamnFather movie every time i watched got asleep Full Review »
  3. Jul 1, 2013
    7
    The straight-faced absurdity is part of the film's charm, but it's the relentless pace with invigorating action sequences that comes to defineThe straight-faced absurdity is part of the film's charm, but it's the relentless pace with invigorating action sequences that comes to define "District B13." Director Pierre Morel, working from a script by producer Luc Besson, focuses only on the essentials for an action film: speed, stunts, and the kind of human special effects that technology can't deliver.

    Set in future of 2010, "District B13" imagines crime and anarchy to have gotten so out of control that the government has erected a wall to isolate a suburban ghetto from proper Paris residents. Leïto (David Belle) is one of few residents to challenge gang leaders, who are profiting from illegal activities festering inside the slums. The undesirable occupants of District B13 are ruled by the ruthless, drug addicted gangster Taha (Bibi Naceri), who is protected by his own crew of criminals. When these gangsters mysteriously acquire a massive bomb and trip the 24-hour fuse, elite cop Damien (Cyril Rafaelli) teams up with local resident and crime stopper Leïto to save the day. And yes, the story line is as ridiculously bad as it sounds.

    "District B13" is simply a continuous stream of fight and chase scenes, each more elaborate than the next. The film's opening chase sequence is devoted to Leïto as he dazzles with his virtuosic ability to leap across buildings and rooftops, through windows, and over the various concrete impediments of the urban jungle. (Belle's athletic talent stems from his background as one of the founders of the sport of Parkour, which combines running and martial arts, moves for total mobility in an urban environment). All of the stunt work done real, what you see is what you get (no CGI). Both Raffaelli and Belle execute all of their own stunts, while stylishly captured by first-time director Pierre Morel.
    Full Review »