Main cast: Paul Walker (Damien Collier), David Belle (Lino Dupree), Catalina Denis (Lola), Robert Maillet (Yeti), Carlo Rota (George the Greek), Kwasi Songul (Big Cecil), Ayisha Issa (Rayzah), and RZA (Tremaine Alexander)
Director: Camille Delamarre
Brick Mansions is a mainstream movie with so many black actors, so it just has to be about drug dealers and gangsters, naturally. This movie is a remake of a French movie called District 13, although judging from the movie summaries I found on Wikipedia, this movie seems to contain elements from both District 13 and its sequel. At any rate, since Paul Walker is now doing his awkward white boy in a black neighborhood impressions in wherever they put deceased pretty boys that can’t act much, I doubt a sequel is in the works.
In this movie, it is 2018 and Brick Mansions is a crime-infested ghetto that has been cordoned off from the rest of Detroit. The folks living in Brick Mansions are criminals, and, naturally, nearly all of them are black or Hispanic because a little stereotyping never hurts anybody where Hollywood is concerned.
Basically, Paul Walker plays the same guy that he did in The Fast and the Furious movies, only with a different name. Damien Collier is an undercover cop from a privileged background, who wants to see drug dealer Tremaine Alexander taken down because he blames Tremaine for the death of his father. One day, he is told by his bosses that Tremaine has stolen a bomb and it would go off soon, destroying the whole city, and they need him to infiltrate Brick Mansions and shut down the bomb. So off he goes. In Brick Mansions also is Lino Dupree, an agile fellow who is on a one-man crusade to take down Tremaine. When Tremaine is all “Hell no, it’s time to end this nonsense!” and holds Lino’s girlfriend Lola hostage to lure out Lino, Lino and Damien find themselves working together to save the day.
If there is one reason to watch this movie, it is to ogle dreamily at David Belle’s lovingly chiseled physique. The guy obliges by going shirtless as often as possible, and the sight of him in those low-riding jeans is… inspiring. Mr Belle is known as one of the founders of Parkour, and he shows off his amazing nimbleness and flexibility here, jumping and contorting himself in a way that has me wondering whether he is that flexible… under another context. Okay, neck up, he isn’t much to look at, but he’s a superstar from the shoulders down, so who’s complaining? Not me. RZA is also easy on the eyes, but he remains fully clothed throughout the movie, so that’s a downgrade. Paul Walker is as always so pretty to look at, too, but like RZA, his character wears too many clothes in this movie.
The clothes really need to go, because aside from looking at the guys (or at the ladies if that’s what you prefer – they aren’t bad either), the only other thing to do here is to have one’s intelligence thoroughly insulted from start to finish. The plot is dumb, with the best thing coming from it is the absurd way Damien and Lino try to upstage one another all the time. The choreography of the fight scenes is nice to watch, and there are few things in this world hotter than two gorgeous guys beating the crap out of another. It’s too bad that there is nothing else to savor here.
The ending is especially mind-bogglingly dumb. Lino and Damien start out being all drug dealers are evil and must be exterminated, as they feel that those dealers are the source of pain and misery everywhere. But once they discover that Damien’s bosses are the bad guys where the bomb is concerned, all of a sudden, Lino and Damien are Tremaine’s BFF. Worse, in the happy ending, Damien is the new sheriff, and he drives around openly in an expensive pimp mobile given to him by Tremaine, who is running for mayor. Won’t this cause Damien to be investigated or something? But no, all of a sudden, all the bad guys, including Tremaine, as now misunderstood saints who just want to survive in the harsh world. The first two-third of the movie builds Tremaine to be an evil fellow, so the abrupt change in portrayal doesn’t make sense at all.
So, yes, hot guys, hot gals, nothing else. They really should have made the guys run around only in tiny little shorts, as maybe then this movie would be amazing,