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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:
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.
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 fists are hard enough to break concrete 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 and not moving one inch off his position. This is never explained; if anything, the only explanation appears to be 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.
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: No? 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.
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 - his superiors did plan on killing everyone in Banlieue 13 rather than spend the money to fix it.
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.
Twenty Minutes into the Future: Man, the world is really fucked up in... 2010? But... actually, that's about right. Applies even more in the remake; the original was released in 2003 and took place in 2010, seven years later; the remake was released in 2014 and takes place in 2018, four years later.
Walking Shirtless Scene: It's entirely possible David Belle spends less time wearing a shirt than not. Becomes unintentionally hysterical.
Broken Aesop: The ending contains one of the most broken aesops ever seen: after having foiled the villain's plan to blow up Banlieue 13 in order to have it replaced by a rich suburb, and exposed his orchestration of the civil violence leading to that decision, the leaders of all five stereotypical ethnic gangs (black rastafarians who look like rejects from the Lord's Resistance Army, robe-clad bearded arabs, Trigger Happy Hispanic used car salesmen, tattoed Asian martial artists and white neo-nazi skinheads) give the French President an "inspirational" speech on how they're like a family that protects, unites and brings people together! Keep in mind that they all voluntarily racially segregate themselves into different blocks and have only united to fight a common enemy. But wait, it gets worse: they then decide that it would be better to rebuild Banlieue 13 from scratch and proceed to go along with the villain's plan and blow it up anyway!
Well, to be fair, early on it was mentioned that if the Big Bad had gotten his way, D13 would've been replaced by middle-upper class housing, displacing all the poor into the other districts. What Leito's posse were probably getting at was replacing it with new low-income housing and better urban planning... assuming 5 walking stereotypes, a kung fu cop and a street fighter were able to get that point across.
Harmless Lady Disguise: Damien disguises himself as a stripper, and amazingly, he is good enough to pass for it for months.
Heroes Fight Barehanded: Enforced by Damien and Leito before the final raid. Not only the heroes, however, given that even the soldiers guarding the president don't wield weapons nor make attemp to draw them whenever they can.
Humiliation Conga: The Dragon is literally brought to his knees via a Groin Attack from Damien and is humiliated by each of the Gang Bosses as they pass by him. The Big Bad is disarmed by the heroes when he tries to use the President as a hostage and then receives a beatdown from each of the Gang Bosses before being rolled up in a rug.
Nipple and Dimed: Tao’s outfit involves a see-through top and some well-placed "pasties".
Our Presidents Are Different: A nice-but-ineffectual mixture of President Personable and President Focus Group, he spends most of his time flip-flopping over whether to go along with the Evil Chancellor's scheme or not.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Interestingly enough, Damien and Leito somehow alternate between one and other, right away from the well defined archetype. Damien is the most idealistic and energetic in contrast with the cool and streetwise Leito, but Leito's Indy Ploy tactis are typically associated with the red oni while Damien's Guile Hero traits are with the blue one.