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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:

  • 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.
  • Boxed Crook: Leito. Although he has his own motives to help the police.
  • 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 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.
  • Combat Parkour
  • 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.
  • 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. Applies in the remake as well.
  • Engineered Public Confession
  • 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 evidently school-trained.
  • 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: 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.
  • Government Conspiracy: the theft of the bomb was engineered by the government to wipe out the slums.
  • Groin Attack
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Neutron Bomb
  • Our Presidents Are Different: President Evil.
  • 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, with Damien being The Idealist to Leito's The Cynic. At the end, Leito is right.
  • Thirteen Is Unlucky
  • 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.
  • Wire Dilemma: The code for the bomb.
  • With My Hands Tied
  • 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.

The sequel provides examples of;

The Remake Provides Samples Of;

  • Adaptational Sexuality: Lola is changed from Leito's sister in the original to his ex-girlfriend in the remake.
  • Call to Agriculture: The last scene shows K-2 helping plant trees in Brick Mansions.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Several between Lola and Razor. Lola eventually drops Razor off the roof the rocket is on.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Tremaine, the gangster in this version, is an ex-soldier who does all he can to keep the peace in Brick Mansions, though his methods leave much to be desired. He ends up changing his mind about launching the missile and helping the heroes invade City Hall to return the bomb to the Corrupt Politician, and after the Corrupt Politician's Engineered Public Confession, he runs for mayor.
  • Hollywood Law: Leito is apparently convicted and imprisoned for killing the Corrupt Bureaucrat police chief in less than two days, judging by the fact that Lola is still in her waitress uniform and doesn't look starved or dirty when he and Damien invade Brick Mansions.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: At one point, Tremaine calls Damien out on the fact that the government abandoned Brick Mansions, shutting down the schools, police and hospitals and leaving them to fend for themselves.
  • Jerkass With A Heart Of Gold: Just about every main character. Tremaine even has severance packages for his gang's families for if they get killed.
  • Panty Shot: Happens several times as Lola's getting hauled around.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Razor spends a LOT of time ogling Lola's breasts and trying to cut her clothes off. When they fight, her expressions and the sounds she makes are nearly orgasmic.

La Ballade des DaltonFrench FilmsThe Bear and the Doll
Bad EducationFilms of 2000 - 2004 Before Sunset

alternative title(s): District B13; Banlieue 13
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