BANLIEUE 13(2004)

w3ManMBuqgYBitCQKGEEJodBCzPApparently the whole world has seen Banlieue 13 and I for once seem to be the guy who has missed a film which is blasphemous to miss. Every action fan around the world considers this to be a film to reckon with as it has added to the genre something new. Now that is something that is truly difficult to achieve these days primarily because of the simple fact that we have seen almost anything and everything that action has to offer in the first place. Thus every time the action genre gets reinvigorated by a film, the film because the talk of the town. Banlieue 13 was no different but somehow I just couldn’t get myself to watch this film.

Now, 11 years after its release, I finally got to watch it and was simply blown away by its stupendous action.Tony-DAmario   Whatever little plot is there is for the sole purpose of giving the men some reason to lock horns and break out into those organic action set pieces that the film made popular. The breathtaking runs through the ghettos, the surging chases, the almost impossible jumps which strangely never breaks a single bone and above all the thrilling hand to hand combats that does to French action films what “Ongbak” did to Thai and almost all action films are captivating.

district_13_turning_on_tahaA top notch cop and a thug enter Banlieue 13 to defuse a neutron bomb that has fallen in the hands of the marauding gang-lord who runs Banlieue 13. While the cop wants to safeguard the district by defusing the bomb which has already been triggered, the thug has his own personal scores to settle with the gang-lord. Together the duo cooks up an extremely entertaining film that is brimming with breathtaking physicality. As the film unfolds, many will not realize what hit them. There will be a large group of people who will have to watch this film a couple of times to sink in the action completely and I consider myself to be among that lot. Eastern films have had this knack of applying intense physicality to their action and they often tend to innovate in this department but Banlieue 13 takes that to a whole new level.

This was Pierre Morel’s first and it was one hell of a beginning. He went on to make slick actionairs like Taken, From Paris With Love and banlieue-13-district-13more recently The Gunman. However none of these films are quite of the genre that Banlieue 13 was of. It is interesting to note that Banlieue 13 is a mishmash between the action and gangster film genre which mostly concentrates on being a semi-martial art, semi-gymnastic film. Luc Besson and Bibi Naceri wrote whatever little story that there is to it and like all Besson films this one modifies the situations perfectly to make room for more and more stylized action.

tumblr_n6knedztzh1qf3chzo5_1280Cyril Raffaelli plays an undercover cop with relative ease and his essay is rendered believable thanks to the breakneck speed of the narrative which is complimented by equally fast dialog delivery. For those who will be relying on the subtitles to understand the film are going to find it difficult to keep up with the speed. Any flaws in the acting department is more or less covered up by this urgency. David Belle is electric in the action sequences. He doesn’t have too much of an acting to do and so there is practically nothing to complain about his acting histrionics. Bibi Naceri plays the principal antagonist Taha with conviction. He is perfectly hateable.

Overall, Banlieue 13 is an adrenalin rush. It is one of those rare films that even though is thin on plot and character development but boasts some tremendous action sequences and set pieces to more than make up for the want. For all those of you who haven’t seen this film till date, watch it at the first available chance. This isn’t the kind of film that you should be missing.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.