Movie Reviews

Published on April 25th, 2014 | by Joseph Saulnier

0

Brick Mansions

3 weeks ago, I had never heard of this movie. I happened upon the commercial as I was watching TV

one day, and I was intrigued. Brick Mansions is touted as Paul Walker’s last complete movie, may he

rest his in peace. But I am really hoping that it’s not true. Because if it is, I really have to question some

of the filmmakers’ decisions.

 

Brick Mansions comes from the creative mind of Luc Besson, who happened to also write District B13

which this movie is a remake of. In fact, David Belle, who plays Leno in the movie, played the same role

in District B13. Leno is a man who lives in Brick Mansions, a highly-dilapidated area of Detroit in 2018,

who is trying to thwart the big boss in Brick Mansions, Tremaine (RZA), and keep drugs off the streets.

When Leno steals 20 Kilos of cocaine and destroys it, Tremaine kidnaps his ex-girlfriend to lure him in

and ultimately land him in jail. Damien (Paul Walker) is an undercover cop looking to take down the

organization that killed his father, who was also a cop. He traces it back to Tremaine, and desperately

wants to take him down. When a threat of a bomb going off that could obliterate Brick Mansions,

Damien is asked to infiltrate the city, and he must enlist the help of Leno to pull it off. As Damien and

Leno race against time to disarm the bomb, they realize that they may have misjudged each other, and

the threat at hand.

 

IMDB credits Belle as the founder of Parkour. I do not know if it is true or not, but the man definitely

makes it seems like it. The fight scenes were excellently choreographed, if not a bit cheesy at times

(Walker and Belle doing mirror image Parkour in perfect unison). It was nice to see the parity between

Damien’s style of getting things done Leno’s style, and the film was definitely not afraid to focus on

strengths. And it wouldn’t be a Paul Walker movie these days if the man didn’t have a driving/chase

scene. It was not focus-stealing or over the top, in fact there was just enough of an emphasis to show

that it was a respectful nod to what made Walker so famous.

 

I had two major issues with the movie, though. The first being the overuse of slow motion in the fight

scenes. Especially the one between Tremaine’s right-hand woman Rayza (Ayisha Issa) and Leno’s ex-
girlfriend, Lola (Catalina Denis). It seemed that every 10-15 seconds they would slow time to focus

on the most asinine thing in the shot, but only for 1-2 seconds and then speed the scene back up. It

seemed like a real quick and easy way to extend the scene and pad the length of the movie.

My other gripe had to do with how quickly the conflicts resolved themselves in the film. First, spoiler

alert. If you do not want to know the resolution of the one of the major plot-points, please skip this

paragraph. All the way up until mere moments before Damien and Leno get access to the bomb to

defuse it, everyone is certain that Tremaine is bad guy, and rightfully so. He is an ex-military, now drug-
lord that essentially monopolized the crime in Brick Mansions. But when he shows one out-of-character

moment of compassion, Lola defends his actions which leads to a quick turnaround of “now we can trust

this guy” among the main characters. It just didn’t make sense in the scheme of things. And that’s just

the tip of the iceberg on this point. But I will leave the rest for the movie.

 

All-in-all, I liked this movie. It had a feel like a Jet Li movie when he was first trying to break into

American Cinema (a la Romeo Must Die and Cradle 2 Grave). And it might just be the same for David

Belle, who already has a slew of stunt work under his belt. It would be nice to see him get some more

starring things. Would I have paid to watch it in theater? Probably, as I wouldn’t know exactly what

I was in store for. Will I go back and do it now, no. But I can say I will end up picking it up on Blu-ray

when it is released.

 

3.5 stars out of 5

 


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