Director: Camille Delamarre
Writers: Luc Besson, Bibi Nacer
Cast: Paul Walker, RZA, David Belle, Gouchy Boy, Catalina Denis, Ayisha Issa, Carlo Rota, Andreas Apergis, Richard Zeman, Robert Maillet, Bruce Ramsay, Frank Fontaine, Chimwemwe Miller, Bradshaw Anderson, Ryan Trudeau
Synopsis: An undercover Detroit cop navigates a dangerous neighborhood that's surrounded by a containment wall with the help of an ex-con in order to bring down a crime lord and his plot to devastate the entire city.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for frenetic gunplay, violence and action throughout, language, sexual menace and drug materia
5.0 / 10
- Great action scenes
- Slow motion is used rather well in certain scenes
- Action choreography was top notch
- Poorly written story
- Plot twist is set up poorly to where it feels more contrived than natural.
- Weak character development
- Acting was mediocre
- Story feels a bit unbalanced
- Shaky cam tends to get annoying during the action scenes
A flat crime drama that lacks passion and substance
Before I begin my review, I just want to say that I have nothing but the utmost respect for Paul Walker as an actor, and as a human being. Although I can't say I'm familiar with all his movies, I do know that many considered him a solid action star from the "Fast and the Furious" movies, and he's considered an all around nice guy. Hence, it's with a heavy heart that it's sad to see such a promising young man get cut down in his prime. It's terrible that he died recently, as I know he'll be sorely missed. If I could, then I wish for nothing but the best for his family and loved ones.
Look, I'm just going to be straight up honest with all my readers right now. I didn't like "Brick Mansions", and part of the reason was because of Paul Walker's performance. However, that doesn't mean I don't respect the guy, or that I think he's a crappy actor. Far from it. I just didn't like him in this particular role. However, that's only my personal opinion. It doesn't mean it's a fact, as you might think differently. But please keep in mind that no matter what I might say during this review, it doesn't reflect what my official thoughts are on Paul Walker. Now, that we've gotten that out of the way lets get started with the review.
"Brick Mansions" is essentially a remake of the foreign movie, "District B13", as it's a crime action drama about a Detroit Detective, Damien (Paul Walker), who's been assigned to infiltrate a piece of the city known only as "Brick Mansions." In a bit of a rip off of "Escape from New York", part of the city is blocked off because of the high volume of crime in that area. It's currently run by an ex military turned illegal arms dealer, and he runs the area with an iron fist. This arms dealer is named Tremaine (RZA), and he allegedly killed Damien's father.
Damien is basically an all around good guy, who has a hidden vendetta to get back at Tremaine for killing his father. Meanwhile, Tremaine has somehow found himself in possession of a bomb that could blow up Brick Mansions, so the government sends Damien to disarm it allegedly. Along the way, he meets a French guy named Lino (David Belle), who has his own vendetta against Tremaine because he kidnapped his ex girlfriend. Although Lino doesn't trust Damien because he's a cop, they eventually come to terms that the only way to stop Tremaine is by working together. Unfortunately, Tremaine may not be the only problem they have to deal with, as things tend to get more complicated once they find out more about the bomb itself.
I know I'm going to get a lot of hate for saying this, but I can't ignore the painfully obvious here. "Brick Mansions" is a forgettable over the top action movie that offers the viewer a fun action thrill ride, but it offers little in terms of substance. The story itself feels a bit uneven at times, as the plot twists are poorly set up, and feel a bit contrived. In one scene for example, Tremaine is about to do something horrific, but changes his mind for no other reason for plot convenience. Granted, I'm sure in the original that it was probably set up better, but this new version sets up the twist so poorly that it feels more like a contrived plot device made out of convenience rather than trying to tell any kind of compelling story arc.
Not to mention the fact that all the characters are poorly developed, and you have bland performances by almost every actor in this film. .
Of course, it doesn't help when majority of your main characters range from being stereotypes to being downright forgettable.
As for the cinematography, it's fine throughout most of the movie. However, I should warn readers if you're not into that shaky cam stuff, then you probably won't like "Brick Mansions" because there's a lot of it during some of the fight scenes. And if you think that's annoying, you'll probably hate the fact that it uses slow motion during certain action sequences while utilizing the shaky cam in between.
Granted, the slow motion that's used can work to make some of the action scenes impressive like when both Paul Walker and David Belle throw bricks at a couple of cars chasing after them, but others not so much.
Overall, I wouldn't call "Brick Mansions" the worst action crime movie that I've ever seen, as there's definitely a lot of great action sequences in it. And like "Pacific Rim", there may not be much in terms of story content, but "Brick Mansions" makes up for it with it's great action sequences.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, "Brick Mansions" falls short on execution in a lot of areas. It's definitely a fun movie to watch if you're one of these people that's willing to turn off your brain to enjoy some cool action scenes. However, if you're looking for something with a bit more meat to it, then you're not going to find it here.
© 2014 Steven Escareno