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Brick Mansions

I'd really hoped I could double this with The Raid 2 last weekend, but the timing didn't work out. I was kinda looking forward to the adrenaline rush.

I'll admit, the biggest draw to this film was Paul Walker. As much as I enjoy action movies, the story on its own wasn't enough to grab me, nor did anything else in the trailer strike me as worthy of being on my list. Here's the part where I do your homework for you, and present more information that I wish I had at the time. At least for me, it would have made it even easier for me to really wanna see this movie, as opposed to going in on the fence.

This movie is all about the parkour. From dictionary.com "the sport of moving along a route, typically in a city, trying to get around or through various obstacles in the quickest and most efficient manner possible, as by jumping, climbing, or running". A friend once described it to me as "the art of finding the most efficient way to move thru a space". She was raving about a French action film District B13, which was one of the first to really feature this technique. I'd meant to see that, and then just forgot. Excuse me while I update my Best Buy wish list. You've prolly seen the technique in lots of movies without realizing it. Casino Royale had a really epic parkour chase scene, and there've been many more. Although the only other example coming to mind is Cop Out, but that took a different approach.

Why am I talking about all this? Turns out, Brick Mansions is a remake of District B13. From reading that movie's summary, it's pretty spot on. And they both share star David Belle, one of the founders of parkour. Do I have your attention now?

I love that said friend used the word "art" to describe parkour. Since that conversation, I've always thought of it that way. Sure, in the middle of an adrenaline filled action sequence, you might be thinking more about the rush and the bad assitude, but in watching Brick Mansions, I realized that it is truly beautiful. I was admiring it in the same way that I admire dance, and I found myself reacting to impressive steps the same way. The movement really is like choreography (and I'm not just referring to the synchronized backflips our leading men pulled off). But the creativity and the athleticism really are similar and beautiful. It is art.

The rest of the movie maybe didn't hold up as well. The plot was predictable and rather thin. Basically the "story" was just rushed thru to showcase how pretty Walker was or how well Belle moves. My heart did sink at the first flash of baby blues we got from Walker, in his last completed film (while Fast 6 will salvage some of his work, it was technically still in progress). But then I almost started crying when his character was first addressed as Detective Collier. As most of you know, not only do I live in the Boston area, but I am an MIT alum. I was actually on MIT campus the night that Officer Sean Collier was killed, and for me, that effected me more than the bombing at the marathon earlier that week. Seeing an actor who was taken from us too soon, playing a police officer who shared a name with another officer who was taken too soon was just a bit much for me. The most unfortunate of coincidences.

Moving on. For a 90 minute action movie, it did deliver the adrenaline. That's really about as much as you can ask for. The acting was decent. Although I'm still not buying RZA (our baddie) as an actor. Not that I'm particularly familiar with him in Wu-Tang Clan, I just don't think he's a good actor. However, I did appreciate the line that said his character "ruled with an iron fist", which was possibly a reference to The Man With the Iron Fists, a film he starred in and wrote with some help from Eli Roth. He had some other line of dialog in this film that the person sitting behind me seemed to appreciate. Their chatter implied it was a lyric reference. Digressing again. I enjoyed it, but it's certainly not for everyone. You hafta be in the right mindset, and know what you're dealing with. Are you okay with an action movie that just looks good, or do you want the total quality package? Here, you're only gonna get the former

Brick Mansions - \m/ \m/ \m/
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