French Chopsocky


Banlieue 13 (2006) Review 5
Director:Pierre Morel,
Starring:Cyril Raffaelli, David Belle, Tony D’Amario, Bibi Naceri and Dany Verissimo
Length:85 minutes



Afew years ago French auteurs Luc Besson and Pierre Morel looked at the situation in France vis-à-vis race and decided not only must something be done about it, but lack of action would result in the makings of a good action movie.

So they made one.

“District B13” takes place in the near future, and the suburb/ghettos have gotten so bad that the government has put a wall around the worst of them, and basically threw the “towns” out of the country.

One person raging against this injustice, is Leito (David Belle), who is a wannabe superhero. Leito is the only defense against the evil hip-hopper drug gangs led by Scarface-wannabe Taha (Bibi Naceri) and his dunderheaded sidekick K2 (Tony D’Amario). Unfortunately, one man alone cannot defeat an army of thugs…or can he? The answer is obvious. Since the government has given up on the place, it’s Leito who’s sent to jail while Taha goes free. Meanwhile, Leito’s sister Lola (Dany Verissimo) is taken prisoner by Taha as a hostage/sex slave (it had to do with Lieto pouring a million euros worth of heroin down the sink). Weep for France!!!!

Six months later, some time in the year 2011, hero supercop Captain Damien (Cyril Raffaelli) is leading an undercover operation where he gets to blow stuff up and shoot thousands of rounds out of his machine pistol. Unfortunately, so do the bad guys, but they all die (except the boss, who’s arrested) and everybody is so happy that Minister of Defense Krüge r(François Chattot) entrusts him to a special mission. It seems that a neutron bomb has been hijacked and is in the possession of our old friend Taha.

So Damien must spring Leito out of jail and the two of them have to get the bomb before it blows all of district 213B to kingdom come!!!

Okay. This is a really stupid film. French chopsocky isn’t nearly as good as Hong Kong’s version, but Raffaelli and Belle do a fine job with the stunt choreography. There’s nonstop action from the first minute to the last, and that’s the sort of thing we want with these things, not whether the director thinks that the current French government are a bunch of assholes.

The climactic fight, which I won’t spoil for you, is really good, and what is really surprising is the politics of the whole thing, which shows that the French hate their own leaders even more than they hate ours. Genre fans should like this.