Banlieue 13 was quite a surprise. It came out of nowhere and knocked me over with its slick action sequences that introduced me to Parkour. You know: the free-running thingy. That movie was so energetic and memorable in its display of this “sport” that the opening-scene in Casino Royale made me yawn and mentioning: been there, done that. Sadly though, Banlieue 13 is a French movie so only people outside of France with special interest will probably have seen it. A shame though as this was one action movie that deserves to receive a large crowd. Luckily the crowd that saw it was large enough becuase it now has a sequel: Banlieue 13 – Ultimatum
Banlieue 13 – Ultimatum takes off where the previous movie ended. Quite literally as in Back To The Future Part 2 the final scene from the first movie is inserted here again. After that we jump 3 years in time and see that not much has changed. The Banlieue is still there surrounded by the walls and Leito is still living in this district. To make his opinion about the walls clear to the outside world he blows them up on a regular basis, only to be chased by the police which results in free running sequence. This is where the movie grabbed me by the neck and shook me really hard while screaming: Dude, you had your Aaaaaahw-emotion the first time round, this time we will do more of the same, nothing new.
Despite this movie being one slick action-fest with a lot of scenes only once or twice did I had that certain sensation go through my body when something awesome and fresh happened. That was different the first time around and that a shame. Leito basically does the same moves he did in the first movie. Other than one moment where he jumps out of his apartment and launches himself upward his moves are a copy of what he did in the previous movie. They should’ve sat down and develop some breathtaking choreography and stunts for him to do. It’s not that he’s in this film for the acting now is he? His main showcase is the scene where he has to escape fromhis apartment and perform the earlier mentioned stunt, there are some other cool moves performed during this chase but most of the time I was wonder where all of his opponents come from. Here is a guy, jumping from building to building and every building he comes upon has a couple of police-men waiting for him. How do they know where he’s jumping to all the time?
Cyril Raffaelli also returns and the first time we meet him he looks like he’s auditioning for the Patrick Swayze role in Too Wong Foo. His skills have improved and he showcases a lot of cool moves. But they nothing groundbreaking as we’ve seen this kind of action before in dozens of movies.
I haven’t mentioned anything about the plot yet, and do I really have to? Do you really care? It’s about some high government official trying to put the blame of a cop killing on a gang in Banlieue 13 so the French president will have no other choice than to evacuate it and tear it down literally with a couple of rockets. It’s up to Leito who’s in possession of evidence with the help of super-cop Daniel Tomasso to stop them.
Plots are always second fiddle and serve as a puprose to tie several action-sequences together. It’s a coherent story, and as with all in this film, never groundbreaking.
The movie on a whole is sufficient and will please most people who’ve watched the first one. But if they tried to take the action to a new level than they would’ve gotten a better film.