70687There was a time when French filmmaker Luc Besson made good movies. During the 90’s he wrote and directed films such as Nikita, Léon and The Fifth Element – all so innovative, intense and thrilling – here was a filmmaker to get excited about. However his recent run of form has been tragically underwhelming, as following on from Taken 2 and The Family, he has now co-penned the remake for one of his former films, District B13, changing the title to Brick Mansions, and handing directing duties to Camille Delamarre.

We follow an undercover cop Damien Collier (Walker) who infiltrates a dangerous neighbourhood, confined within the restrictions of a containment wall set up by the Government. His mission is to take down the notorious gangster Tremaine Alexander (RZA), who intends on destroying the entire community. Damien has an additional incentive too, believing the crime-lord to have been behind his father’s killing.

Brick Mansions is unbearably conventional and cliched, so much so you wouldn’t be completely shocked if you discovered this was a parody of the genre – particularly as far as the mawkish finale is concerned. There’s even a ticking time bomb, needing to be deactivated with seconds remaining. So predictable, so tired and so overcooked. Enough already. That being said, the only chance this film has got of being triumphant, is to play up to the absurdity and become of those ‘so bad it’s good’ productions. However there’s a touch of sincerity to this film which contradicts that entire approach, as this film isn’t quite tongue-in-cheek enough to be let off the hook in that regard. The premise itself is a strong one, which makes it even more of a frustrating shame that filmmakers cheapen their own title by implementing hackneyed, generic music to compliment the narrative, and slow-motion shots we’ve seen a million times before. Surely this can be avoided?

On a more positive note, you can see that in parts Delamarre is wanting to be bold and creative, but regrettably he doesn’t quite have the means, nor funds, to achieve what he may have desired. Some of the choreography is impressive, as is the parkour in the opening sequences, however it’s underused somewhat, mostly disregarded from thereon. Walker is the stand-out performer, showing a lot of charisma, but it’s sadly not enough to save this movie. The closest we do get to forgiving Besson for this endeavour, is the occasionally brilliant one-liner, often falling into the lap of RZA’s Tremaine Alexander. A personal favourite being that of, “You don’t need to be a rocket scientist, you just gotta have a rocket”.

Ultimately, Brick Mansions is a film that is best suited going straight to DVD, as a picture that could only truly be enjoyed if stumbled across when flicking around on telly late on a Saturday night. Though to be honest, even then you’d consider just giving up and going to bed.