Dr. Donna Copeland’s
PAUL WALKER DAVID BELLE RZA
It’s a remake and a film that might have ended up going straight to On-Demand or DVD release if it wasn’t for the death of Paul Walker. Now in his final fully completed film, Brick Mansions is getting a more royal theatrical treatment. This film, with lackluster performances and hip-hop action, will do nothing for his memory. Editor of the Transporter films, Camille Delamarre leaves the cutting room for the big chair this time in his directorial debut (he will also be directing Transporter 4). Brick Mansions, as you might expect, focuses on car chases, street battles and lots of runaway dance moves by Belle that do everything but tell a story.
Detroit continues to be the most dangerous and corrupt city in the US even in 2018, where the residents of Brick Mansions find themselves walled off from the rest of the city. An undercover detective out to avenge his father is sent in to stop drug lord Tremaine (RZA) and stop a bomb that the gang stole from the military and now have aimed at the city. Damien (Walker) is partnered with do-gooder criminal Lino (Belle); both have very different methods but have the same goal: to rid the city of Tremaine.
Brick Mansions makes it very clear in the opening sequence with Belle doing some impressive escape moves that this is more about the flair than the story. The plot is pretty simple: rescue the girl and stop the bomb. However, in over 90 minutes we have our two leads doing everything but the obvious. No Paul Walker film would be complete without a certain amount of car chase sequences, and there are plenty here complete with crashes. Nearly all the chase sequences are full of implausible sequences, one in which a man is thrown from a car traveling at a high rate of speed through a windshield and directly into the police station for booking.
“I didn’t create the reality, I just help ease the pain,” Tremaine says, defending his drug deals that have half of the city hooked. The story quickly forgets about the drugs when city corruption becomes involved, and all parties are forced to work together for the greater good. In fact, a lot of opinions change very quickly in this film; not that the lowest common denominator it’s catering to will notice or care. They want action sequences, cheesy one-liners and lots of brutality, and that’s precisely what Brick Mansions aims to give them.
Final Thought – Walker in a different movie, same results.
By: Dustin Chase
Brick Mansions is a rather an absurd movie that, almost as an afterthought, comes up with a charitable ending. It takes place in a poor section of Detroit where two criminals are fighting over territory. The mayor wants to get rid of the whole complex and put in “nice” residences in its place, with no thought given to finding a place for all those who will be displaced. Corrupt police officers put one of the criminals, Lino (David Belle), in jail when he attempts to give information about the other one, who is on the Most Wanted list. Soon after, the mayor forces a talented policeman, Damien (Paul Walker) to infiltrate the Mansions and go after the other, Tremaine (RZA), with no advance planning. I won’t say how Lino escapes but he and Damien become unlikely and reluctant partners in the pursuit of Tremaine. Lino gets an additional incentive to get Tremaine because he has kidnapped and is holding Lino’s ex-girlfriend (Catalina Denis) for ransom until Lino gives him back a stash or the cash for it. Damien’s incentive is a rocket Tremaine has aimed toward the city that would completely destroy it. Damien is charged with dismantling it.
From beginning to end of Brick Mansions, we get to witness countless car chases and crashes, incredible vaulting and rolling, fistfights, and gunfire. It was somewhat amusing that these would occur almost by clockwork; a few lines of dialog, then action action action. Then a little more dialog. The filmmakers (Camille Delamarre, director) even managed to get two women fighting not once but twice. What a treat. In the end, people were different from how they were presented, making the whole story seem implausible, let alone showing barrages of gunfire where no hero gets shot or put in the hospital from having his/her head pummeled and banged against hard surfaces time after time.
Brick Mansions is a remake of a French film by Luc Besson (who co-wrote the screenplay for this), and will bring curious action movie fans to the theater after the recent death of Paul Walker, the star. His performance is very good, and since this is his last completed film before his untimely death, his followers will surely want to see it.