Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 53 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Paris, 2010. An isolation wall surrounds the ghetto cities. Without effective law enforcement, with these walls, gang rule is absolute. [Magnolia Pictures]
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. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Nathan Lee
    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.
  4. 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.
  5. 70
    Go for the dazzling, if repetitive, human stunt work. Endure the appallingly simplistic politics.
  6. A ridiculous but exciting action movie.
  7. Its hackneyed themes prevent the sci-fi flick from feeling like anything more than well-directed mediocrity.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Jun 23, 2014
    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 dont look away didnt get boring like THE goddamnFather movie every time i watched got asleep Expand
  2. Mar 3, 2013
    This movie is amazing. Just wow. Enjoyed every second it's so fast paced, you won't be able to look away!! They need to make more movies like this.
  3. Aug 13, 2010
    this film is entertaining and a surprise. it has its dumb elements but they don't interfere with your being engrossed in a nearly non stop chase. quirky and cute and fast and fun. One of the best action movies to come around in a long time. don't expect to learn anything or become aware of some social issue but you believe it all enough and care about the characters enough to enjoy yourself. Expand
  4. Jul 1, 2013
    The 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.
  5. Jan 12, 2012
    Luc Besson has written a quite staggering quantity of high-octane action movies in recent years. Though he now rarely gets behind the camera himself, he's clearly not out of ideas by any means - in Hollywood, he's scribed all three Transporter films, Taken and From Paris with Love and have all been released in the last decade. Back home in France he's got another franchise on the go - District 13 (a sequel was released three years later). So it's not quite as slick or full of ideas as Besson's own directorial efforts, it's still immense fun. Martial artist Cyril Raffaelli and parkour founder David Belle play a crusading cop and a slum resident wronged by a powerful drug lord respectively, and their incredible physicality is exploited to the max in a series of eye-popping, gravity-defying, wirework-free action set pieces. The scenes that really stand out are the film's opening, where Leito (Belle) flees from some thugs across Parisian rooftops, and demonstrates the most creative way of getting down a stairwell ever committed to film, and also the scene where Tomasco (Raffaelli) single-handedly dispatches wave after wave of armed henchmen in a drug den. These are the kinds of scenes action movies are made for. They are truly outstanding. The scenes in between the action are a little under-whelming, and though Raffaelli and Belle are decent actors as well as stuntmen, they have very little to work with considering the emotionally empty script. The themes that the film addresses are also directly borrowed from Besson's previous French dystopian thriller Nikita - this isn't an outright complaint, it still makes for an entertaining enough back-story to the film, but it's a little less hard-hitting the second time round. District 13's jaw-dropping choreography and stuntwork make it a cut-above most action movie fare, and it's a heart-pumping thrill-ride throughout, but a hollow core and Besson's recycled ideas hold it back from being anything more. Expand

See all 23 User Reviews