Brick Mansions was not at the top of my list for the month. I had seen a trailer, and it just didn’t grab my attention like a few of the others this month did. My ranking of it was unaffected by the fact that it was Paul Walker’s final finished film. That being said, I had a potential revelation for the PW fans out there…or rather, a few thoughts:
- This might serve as a good soft introduction for Fast and Furious 7. You get to see him on screen after his death before his unfinished work comes out. Unfortunately, you will need to prepare yourself for a few high speed crashes involving PW.
- In the wake of PW’s death, it became more known that he was a huge adrenaline junkie. Brian O’Connor was his dream role, and Brick Mansions can easily be considered a good adrenaline-fueled bridge for Walker between Fast movies.
His first appearance in the film is soft. He’s introduced in the middle of his latest undercover investigation trying to take down one of the many men on his VIP list of dealers and crooks. He doesn’t come barreling in, kicking ass and taking names, but there is no shortage of that in this movie later on. It works perfectly as a way to take in his presence without any emotions clouding the plot.
Now that the elephant was addressed, let’s get to the movie. Brick Mansions is a lot like The Raid in terms of action. While The Raid takes place almost completely in one building, as we go up floor by floor, almost all of the action in Brick Mansions takes place in the stairwells and hallways of similar buildings. The mansions look a lot like old apartment complexes you would expect to see in a historic downtown that has since been forgotten by the former residents. They built a cement wall enforced by armed guards cordoning it off from the rest of Detroit to keep the undesirables inside (like Arkham City, for any gamers reading).
I will quickly say that Brick Mansions is a near shot for shot remake of a 10 year old French film called District B13 (Lino is played by the same guy, David Belle, who is presumably trying to break into Hollywood). The idea is that PW’s Damien is a detective trying to take down various high-level criminals in Detroit to better the city and avenge the death of a loved one. The Brick Mansions DISTRICT houses the last guy on his list, Tremaine, played charismatically by RZA. Only, he has a small army of protection. Go figure. Combine that with a hostage situation to give David Belle an excuse to parkour around and we have ourselves a movie. Fun Fact: David Belle is one of the founders of parkour.
The action is fantastic. Likely, it will be the best we get from American theatrical cinema all year. It’s all in the vein of The Raid and The Protector. They don’t necessarily perform traditional martial arts, as they do a lot of momentum-based punches and kicks. It’s amazing watching David Belle move the way he does at 40 years old, which forces me to reflect on my movements at the tender age of 27.
Listed under: Things I can’t do.
Alas, it is definitely an American remake. Even without seeing District B13, you can tell what Hollywood has bastardized. Many jokes fell flat. A quiet theater during a poorly timed wisecrack or cliché quip is awkward at best and disheartening at worst. This film moves fairly quickly. As long as you don’t care for plot continuity, you will have no trouble enjoying yourself. It is a stereotypical action movie.
Brick Mansions is a good ice breaker for seeing Paul Walker on the screen after his death. It is a popcorn, summertime flick to enjoy with friends. Low expectations yield pleasant results. Just don’t go getting any ideas that you could do anything you saw on screen. An injured livingdeadguy and his worried wife know you can’t.
Take a Drink: every time Lino does a trick
Do a Shot: every time Paul Walker says something “funny”
Take a Drink: every time you wish you were cool enough to learn parkour