District 13 (15) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

If stuntwork were the sole standard of movie greatness, then District 13 would be in the very front rank. It begins with a long chase sequence involving a young crimefighter, Leito (David Belle) who leaps along corridors, shinnies down drainpipes and bounds over rooftops in a quite breath-taking display of physical agility - all without the benefit of CGI, which will now look very lame in comparison. When he dived head-first through a narrow fanlight above a door I felt like applauding.

Sadly, the remainder of Pierre Morel's futuristic thriller is pro forma stuff, all about a rogue missile that's been hijacked by a gang in the tough Parisian ghetto of District 13. Leito is joined by martial arts cop and fellow acrobat Damien (Cyril Raffaelli) on a mission to avert the destruction of two million citizens - "undemocratic", says the villain, "but it solves problems". A certain brutish daredevilry propels it along - think Jackie Chan meets La Haine - and if you have to watch scenery-trashing mayhem, it might as well be this.

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