Friday, November 21, 2014

Brick Mansions

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I wonder if there is a prequel called Log Cabins?

Brick Mansions – 3 out of 5

I wanted to start this review talking a little bit about Paul Walker.  I’m not going to blow smoke and say I was a huge fan of the man.  I wasn’t.  He wasn’t a phenomenal actor but he was a part of a franchise that is a big guilty pleasure of mine; The Fast and the Furious.  He was a pretty boy who was passable at best with most of his performances.  However, it was a tragedy when he passed.  Aside from being a normal part of existing, death is still a tragedy and the guy was young and had so many more Fast and Furious films for me to have fun with.  Sure, some people don’t like those films and didn’t like his acting but celebrating his death would just be weird and the antics of an asshole in every sense of the word.  As the F&F franchise grew, Walker started to grow on me and I saw him becoming more than a pretty boy dude and see he was starting to head somewhere with his acting skills.  Sadly, fate had other plans and we can’t see where he could have gone to.  So, now that I started this review on a bummer note, let’s get to the synopsis.
We'll miss those beautiful blue eyes...
The title of the film is behind the Mayor...clearly that's
an Easter Egg.
A few years from now Detroit will be such a shithole (well, in fairness, it is now) that the project housing there is walled up and the riffraff is left to fend for themselves.  Inside the walled locale, a resident named Lino (David Belle) is desperately trying to live a normal life and clean up his neighborhood but after the local crime lord, Tremaine Alexander (RZA), kidnaps his ex-girlfriend, he finds himself teaming up with a very dedicated cop named Damien Collier (Paul Walker).  Things only go from bad to worse when Lino finds out that Collier was sent in to stop Tremaine from setting off a bomb he got his hands on.  Now it’s time for them to parkour the shit out this situation and stop the bomb, stop Tremaine, and save Lino’s ex.
Did the police force pay for Collier to take parkour lessons?
That fireball took a very specific route...and I'm sure
his ankles will be fine when he lands.
Brick Mansions is a remake of a French film called District B13 that David Belle played the same role in.  Full disclosure:  I’ve never seen the film or even heard of District B13 until I watched this film and I am disappointed that I wasn't able to loudly proclaim to hate remakes when this film was hitting theaters (or do we only do that when we remake popular American films?).  That being said, I actually wanna see the original now.
I'm pretty sure that wall is real in Detroit.
Walker, seen here doing his impression of his favorite
scene from Terminator 2.
Mansions isn’t the best action film to be produced but it was still plenty entertaining.  The story is solid (although, a little silly and 90’s-ish with the bomb thing) and it works for what it is.  The action is satisfying and offers up some cool parkour shenanigans (even though my fatass could never be able to do it, I think parkour is pretty neat—and yes, I said “neat”).  Finally, the acting is pretty good and it might be one of Paul Walker’s strongest performances.  However, there are some bad points…
So...does doing parkour mean you just leap and pray for the best?

The only real complaint I have (HA!  I fooled you, I made the last paragraph sound like there were numerous bad things but there was only one thing I didn’t like) is the fact I have a very hard time taking RZA seriously as an actor.  He’s not the most convincing and most of his delivery is as sleepy as his appearance. 

RZA looks like he's never slept a day in his life.
Wait...Lino's girlfriend knows parkour-fu?  Did she really need saving?
Additionally, and I’m not saying this to be mean, the fact his voice has the same speech patterns of a two year old doesn’t help.
  His L’s come out like W’s and he ends up sounding wike he is just a widdle guy.  It’s hard to take him seriously as a crime lord when he sounds like he is on the verge of saying, “I wuv you this much” and requesting ice cream around the next bend.  However, as his character develops and he moves farther away from being a supposed tough drug boss, he is a little more bearable than I’ve seen him in other films.

I can't hate on him completely because that golden gun is pretty cool.
I'm not so sure we needed to see a shirtless Kurgan.
Brick Mansions didn’t wow me or send me falling to the floor begging for the pain to end—instead, it was an enjoyable action film that may not be the greatest example of its genre but was enough to not get boring and be very satisfying.  Sure, RZA still isn’t a very good actor but his time being distracting is limited.  Additionally, Walker gives off a great performance as Damien Collier and his partnership with David Belle is definitely a fun one that keeps the movie just lighthearted enough where it won’t take itself too seriously.  This was Walker’s final finished film he worked on before he passed and he did it quite well.  Not a bad exit.

And the movie ends happily ever after...with Lino teaching kids to parkour.

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