It’s difficult to talk about Brick Mansions without getting at least a little misty-eyed; the film, a remake of 2004 French action picture District 13, marks one of beloved late actor Paul Walker’s final screen appearances. Unlike the impending Fast & Furious 7, though, this movie didn’t require any revision, and should remain pure as it makes its way into US theaters in a couple of months. That’s perhaps small consolation, but the fact that Brick Mansions doesn’t look half-bad should be pretty encouraging unto itself.
Two trailers have cropped up online to promote its release. Both cover similar ground in establishing the basic conceit here; in a dystopian Detroit, the brick mansions of the title have become such a dangerous haven for violent criminals and roving gangs that the US military has built a wall around the area to keep its inhabitants in. When gang lord Tremaine Alexander (RZA) obtains a stolen neutron bomb and threatens the surrounding city with it, the police have no choice but to send their top undercover officer, Damien (Walker) into dangerous territory to avert disaster.
He’s joined by Lino (David Belle, reprising his role from the original film), whose girlfriend is in Tremaine’s clutches. Damien and Lino make an odd couple pairing – the former a cop, the latter an ex-convict – but they race against the clock to stop Tremaine and save the day nonetheless. The US theatrical trailer (seen above) shows off a little bit more Parkour, which is a centerpiece to District 13 and one of its defining action characteristics; its high-flying freerunning stunts help separate the film from other entries in the genre.
Meanwhile, the international clip (seen below), goes slightly more plot-heavy; Damien, it seems, has a personal beef with Tremaine, having sought his capture for the whole of his career. (Seems like our two heroes will have plenty to bond over, then.) There’s also a heavier tone in play, one that clashes against the more energetic and, frankly, more exciting tenor of its US cousin.
Brick Mansions is an odd movie to analyze at a glance; producer extraordinaire Luc Besson has his hands all over the project, serving in the same capacity as he has on films ranging from the Taken and Transporter franchises, to Lockout and, of course, District 13 itself (not to mention its 2009 sequel, District 13: Ultimatum). Couple that with Belle’s presence here, and this starts to feel less like a remake and more like a straight-up repeat.
Fortunately, Brick Mansions has enough going for it to give it a semblance of individuality; gone is the Parisian backdrop, replaced with that of Detroit. If director Camille Delamarre and Besson are smart, they’ll let the Motor City be as much of a character in the film as Paris was in District 13. Most of all, though, we have the easygoing charisma of Walker on the big screen one last time, which should be a huge draw all on its own merits.
Coupled with this bounty of footage is the first poster for the film, which feels unsurprisingly quite familiar – but looks pretty cool all the same:
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Does Brick Mansions look like it’ll be your alley? Will it be a fitting capstone to Walker’s career? Check back in the Spring and we’ll let you know for sure.
Brick Mansions opens in US theaters on April 24th, 2014.