Brick Mansions is the latest Luc Besson-written and produced action flick and the last film that Paul Walker finished before tragically passing away. It’s also a remake of District B13, which Besson also wrote. Unfortunately, Brick Mansions is nowhere near as good, despite its star power and updated script. Brick Mansions features some tightly-filmed Parkour action sequences that make co-star David Belle shine, but the rest of the film is jerky and flabby, oftentimes coming off as unwatchable on almost every single level. Brick Mansions does not belong in theaters and barely gets by as a five dollar bargain flick that you’d maybe pick up from Wal-Mart.
In the near future Detroit becomes a big wasteland, with gangs and the lower class taking home in a dangerous city that’s surrounded by a giant brick containment wall. The city’s unofficial ruler and drug lord Tremaine (RZA) stumbles upon a highly explosive device and now an undercover cop named Damien (Paul Walker) must team up with one of the citizens of the city named Lino (David Belle) in order to stop Tremaine and disarm the bomb before it blows everyone sky high.
Damien takes the mission one step further, bringing in his personal hatred towards Tremaine after his father was murdered some time ago, while Lino just wants peace among the residents of the city. Both men have their own reasons towards taking down Tremaine and both men see the law through very different eyes, which causes their partnership to become a forced hand that only exists to take down a common enemy.
Brick Mansions is one of the cheapest-looking and laughably bad PG-13 action films to hit theaters in quite some time. Director Camille Delamarre does very little with Luc Besson‘s scripted remake and instead of taking everything that worked in the original film and heightening it, he takes bits and pieces and tries to string them along with an American cast. And the result is an absolute horrid disaster, with the dialog reading off with a unique stiffness that feels beyond forced and rarely even makes sense, plus the action is yet another victim to the shaky cam, only this time with extreme ADD.
The Parkour sequences featuring David Belle are cool and fun and feel fresh for most American audience members, yet they’re immediately undermined by silly scenes featuring the late Paul Walker attempting to fight dozens upon dozens of faceless henchmen. Belle’s moments feel real and move fast and fluidly, while Walker’s feel forced and fake and like the production crew is trying to sell Walker as some bad ass tough guy, when he’s usually just funny and smart.
This isn’t Walker’s finest movie by a long shot and almost feels like a giant disappointment, considering the rest of his career has mostly been filled with decent-to-good action flicks. Walker knows how to do action films, yet Delamarre tries turning him into some sort of fighting god, which squashes the films tone and worst of all, its action.
RZA delivers what can easily be called one of his worst performances yet, with lines mumbling across the screen as he struggles to find out which kind of bad guy he’s actually playing. One minute he’s funny and likable and the next he’s trying to be crazy and not one of them gel for more than a minute, leaving the character, the characters around him and the audience puzzled. I’m not sure if RZA was simply having a bad month while shooting this film or if he was just given horseshit material, because Tremaine definitely hurts an already bad movie and he should have been the type of character that RZA chews up with a grin on his face.
Brick Mansions is an action film that will initially impress most, due to its quick introduction action, which is fast-paced, creative and exciting, and then it’ll keep your attention as Paul Walker is brought in and the storyline is slowly constructed, but once the plan of attack begins to unfold, you’ll quickly realize that director Camille Delamarre is no seasoned action director, meaning the rest of the film suffers from cheap-looking action, cringe-worthy dialog and a story that makes less sense as it moves forward.
Paul Walker does not save this one, nor does RZA or David Belle. The cast mostly relies on their autopilot talents as Delamarre does nothing fresh or new with the story, which Besson already penned when District B13 was made back in 2004. Skip this one and check out the highly superior original, which is everything that this film is not.
Brick Mansions – 6/10