Film: Banlieue 13

In the near future, the worst ghettos (banlieues) of Paris are literally walled off. Banlieue 13, one of the worst of them, is run by the ruthless crime lord Taha. After Leito, the hero of the story, steals and destroys a shipment of Taha's drugs, Taha retaliates by kidnapping Leito's sister Lola. Leito rescues her, but is arrested by corrupt cops, leaving his sister in Taha's clutches.

Six months later, an undercover supercop named Damien is given an urgent mission: Taha has stolen a Neutron Bomb which has an automatic timer function engaged and set to detonate in less than 24 hours. Now with time running out, Damien and Leito must work together to find and stop the bomb, but there's far more to this crisis than either of them know.

Features David Belle showcasing Le Parkour back before it was very well known in the English-speaking world. Dubbed into English as District 13 or District B13. A sequel, Banlieue 13: Ultimatum was released in 2009.

An English-language remake of this film, Brick Mansions, was released in North America on April 25, 2014, and in its native France two days earlier. It once again stars David Belle, this time sharing protagonist duties with Paul Walker in his last completed role before his death.

The first movie provides examples of:

  • Apologetic Attacker: Damien excuses himself at knocking Leito off his way to deactivate the bomb.
  • Bad Boss: Taha kills his mooks on the merest whim and for any failure. This comes back to bite him when they decide to kill him for his tyrannical lunacy.
  • Badass: Most of the characters, especially Leito and Damien.
  • Boxed Crook: Leito is first unknowingly recruited by the police and later allies himself with Damien for his own motives.
  • Bullfight Boss: Yeti
  • Car Cushion: One of the baddies lands on one in the first major chase scene.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Taha. From frantically shooting a knowingly unloaded gun against a fence of angry thugs to die while pointing at hem with his hands like guns immediately after.
  • Chained Heat: Damien pretends to be a crook to get in with Leito, who works it out straight away and leaves him handcuffed to a steering wheel.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Yeti's bones are hard enough to break concrete with the fists and to survive to a block clock in the head, not to mention that he can take a John Woo-style flying dropkick in the belly without moving one inch off from his position. The film is quite physically realistic until that point (all the stunts are real and without wires or CGI), but this oddity is never explained; if anything, the only reason for his super-endurance appears to be simply that he is fat.
  • Chick Magnet: There are only three female characters across the two films that really have any role to speak of. Of those, two unashamedly hit on Damien and the third's his girlfriend.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Brilliantly averted. When facing a squad of armed mooks, Damien flips a table before them and takes cover behind, but he does it just to remove himself from their vision and move along as the bullets go through the wood as real life ammunition would.
  • Combat Parkour: Done by both Damien and Leito.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The jumping around and martial arts are pretty fancy to look at, but the heroes have no problem grabbing whatever's at hand to use as a weapon.
  • Damsel in Distress: Lola, though only after the film shows her as a pretty capable gal herself.
  • Death Glare: Leito loves these, and especially notable is the one he throws to Minister of Defense Kruger after learning he has no problems with killing all the B13 inhabitants.
  • Destination Defenestration: More than once from the galleries of the casino Damien clears out at the beginning of the film.
  • The Dragon: K2.
  • Dystopia: Banlieue 13 has turned into a crime-infested ghetto where the people live in fear of Taha and his gang, and the government has stopped trying to help and taken its hands off them.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After the umpteenth time Taha kills one of his mooks for failing him, they turn on him even when he can still pay them.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: B13 isn't immediately restored to pristine condition, but the final scene shows the beginnings of the rebuilding efforts.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Leito and Damien concoct one to take minister Kruger down after his failed plan.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: K2 never really hurts Lola (apart from manhandling her), and tells the other mooks to leave her alone. He also looks distinctly uncomfortable with how Taha treats her.
    • Later he turns his back and is visibly upset while the thugs finally gun down Taha.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Taha, to his own thugs:
    You are all a bunch of useless dipshits.
  • Fat Bastard: K2 and Yeti.
  • Fighting Fingerprint: Leito is able to deduce Damien's identity as a cop after seeing him fight, noting that his style looks too formally trained for a street fighter like him.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Leito and Damien.
  • Forced Friendly Fire: Undercover detective Damien has to get out of a dangerous casino the hard way. So he pulls off an impressive example of the trope, shooting several mooks from multiple angles by locking up a thug's arm in various ways. He also shoots the thug through his leg. He then grabs another mook's arm and forces him to spray bullets around harmlessly before knocking him out.
  • Foreign Remake: Brick Mansions, again with David Belle as the Le Parkour-savvy crook.
  • Gay Paree
  • Giant Mook: Yeti.
  • Godwin's Law: Leito invokes this, and notably, all it does is piss Damien off.
    Damien: You don't murder two million people because you can't solve their problems!
    Leito: They murdered six million because none of them were blonde with blue eyes!
  • Go-Go Enslavement: To spite Leito after he almost got Taha arrested, Taha keeps Leito's sister Lola as a chained-up slave and whipping toy in his quarters, forcing her to wear a hooker outfit and feeding her his drugs.
  • Government Conspiracy: The theft of the bomb was engineered by the government to wipe out the slums.
  • Groin Attack: Freely used.
  • Gun Fu: Neatly showed by Damien when he guns down several mooks by armlocking another henchman and making him fire his own pistol against them. In the DVD extended edition, he takes another guy down with a flying armbar and repeats the method before shooting him the last from the hold.
  • Heroic BSOD: Damien has one when the timer on the bomb reaches zero but fails to detonate, revealing that Leito's proclamation of Godwin's Law was correct and the minister did plan on killing everyone in Banlieue 13. The mix of shock for being still alive after what he believed it was inminent death and for realizing that his superiors are really genocide wannabes after all reflects quite on his face.
  • Improvised Weapon: Several, but a detached steering wheel deserves a mention.
  • I Want Them Alive: Cause of the opening Chase Scene.
  • Karma Houdini: Leito is apparently let off for killing the corrupt chief in the beginning after helping Damien in B13. In the remake, Tremaine runs for mayor at the end, apparently with nothing said about his criminal history.
  • Klingon Promotion: An unusually democratic example, when after one too many impromptu executions and the loss of all his operating funds, the assembled mooks gun down Taha and immediately recognise K2 as their new leader.
  • Knuckle Cracking: A neck variation by Yeti.
  • Le Parkour: David Belle, one of the founders of parkour, plays the hero. He shows off his skills.
  • Les Cops Sportif: A rare literal example in Damien.
  • Made of Iron: He might not seem it, but Damien proves to be a tough dude when gets punched around and even powerbombed over a pile of bricks. He looks adequately dazed and beaten down afterwards, but the fact he's still alive is enough to count.
  • Magic Countdown: The countdown on the bomb is set for 24 hours, since it's not a series, it is shortened considerably. See also Heroic BSOD.
  • Master of Unlocking: Damien. Even Leito calls him a master of the stuff.
  • Neck Snap: Damien finishes a mook this way.
  • Neutron Bomb
  • Oh Crap!: Right in Damien's face when his superior refuses negotiating with Taha and nonchalantly hangs up the phone to leave him to his fate. He has the Nerves of Steel to hide it and pretend he has being given confirmation, however.
  • Pet the Dog: A small one by Damien when he turns down K2's offer to give him Leito and freely leave with the bomb, which would have been the easiest way for him to fulfill his mission. After an oddissey of barking at each other and getting himself almost screwed by Leito several times, Damien has come to care for him enough to protect the street fighter from falling on the thugs's hands if he can avoid it.
  • Shoe Phone: Supercop Damien shows a less colorful variation by pulling a mobile phone from the sole of his sneaker. It is enough to amuse Leito.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Instrumental to the film. While both are pretty street-wise, Damien and Leito tilt to opposite sides in the scale: Damien is The Idealist and Leito is The Cynic. At the end, Leito is right.
  • Strapped to a Rocket: Taha makes sure to tie Leito's sister Lola (whom he had already kept as a catatonic slave for about a year) to the nuclear missile he stole before shooting it at the Paris city centre.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Both Leito and Damien clearly distrust each other from the start, but they are smart enough to know that teaming up is the only way to solve the matter. At the end, they have become friends.
  • Thirteen Is Unlucky
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: Man, the world is really fucked up in... 2010? But... Actually, that's about right.
  • Wire Dilemma: The code for the bomb.
  • With My Hands Tied
  • Wrestler in All of Us:
    • Damien knocks out a mook taking his back by doing rolling snapmare over a table.
    • Later Yeti gives Damien a military press drop and a guwrench powerbomb over bricks. Ouch.
    • Also, in the DVD extended edition, Damien takes out a mook by doing a shooting star knee drop over his back.
  • You Have Failed Me: Taha kills his mooks for their failures, repeatedly. Deconstructed when as soon as it's revealed that he's lost most of his money, his mooks turn on him.