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Film / Banlieue 13: Ultimatum

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Banlieue 13: Ultimatum is the 2009 sequel to District 13. David Belle and Cyrus Raffaeli both return as Leito and Damien, respectively.

Three years after the death of Taha, the power vacuum left by the collapse of his criminal empire has created a gang war between the five most powerful remaining gangs in the district. Leito and Damien soon discover a government conspiracy involving gentrification by evacuating the district to level the blocks.


The sequel provides examples of;

  • Air-Vent Passageway: Leito takes one to avoid the door of a cell department, and later he and Damien hide in another. The second one is ample enough to comfortably shelter them both and give them space to change impressions.
  • Affably Evil: Gassman presents himself as a suave, professional guy.
  • All-Stereotype Cast: Everyone. From the gangster alliance (Black Rastafarians who look like rejects from the Lord's Resistance Army, robe-clad bearded Arabs, Trigger Happy Portuguese used-car salesmen, tattooed Asian martial artists, and white Neo-Nazi skinheads), to the bad guys (a PR-obsessed French President and his Evil Chancellor), to the heroes (Cowboy Cop Damien and Neighborhood Friendly Gangster Leito). It manages to be quite hilarious because of how straight it plays the whole thing.
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  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Leito and Damien's final option to move through police building whose cells they have just escaped from: casually walking among the rest of the personnel. It doesn't last very much, but it deserves a dime for them.
  • Black Helicopter
  • Bland-Name Product: A defence contractor called "Harriburton". Subtle.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: The bunch of soldiers who surround Tao and don't shoot her probably just because she is a woman. She has time to kick their asses in plenty.
  • Braids of Action Tao’s knee-length ponytail has a blade fastened into it which she uses as an Epic Flail.
  • Brass Balls: Black gangster Molko informs the victim of a Groin Attack that it wouldn’t have hurt him, as "theirs are like concrete".
  • Briefcase Full of Money
  • Broken Aesop: After having 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 give Gassman a short, inspirational speech in how they defend the virtues of a "family that protects, unites and brings people together". And among the ones saying it there are a guy who looks like an African death squad member, a robe-clad Islamist and a neo-nazi skinhead of all people. It's safe to assume that they are referring to their respective families and not one above all, as they have only united to fight a common enemy, but the moment can pass as quite jarring.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Invoked, but not necessarily achieved; Damien says that “the civil code is his bible”, but as Leito notes, if so he seems to be more interested in the spirit of the rules than the letter of them.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Seeing Tao, it seems that the Chinese government doesn't fear trusting in very weird people.
  • Car Cushion: Damien’s Super Window Jump ends with him landing over a car's roof, leaving it graciously dented.
  • Cardboard Prison: The cell department of the police building looks like any other cell department in the world, but it is little prison to contain Leito and Damien.
  • Chick Magnet: By the point of this film, out of the three only female characters of the franchise, two have unashamedly hit on Damien and the third is his girlfriend.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Like the former film, Leito and Damien take a fighting approach regarding their respective skills: Damien clears the way kicking and knocking everybody with his martial arts while Leito uses his Combat Parkour to get himself out of danger and cause them to harm themselves.
  • The Dragon: Roland
  • Dragon Lady: Tao.
  • Enemy Mine: All the rival gangs decide to team up to stop the destruction of B13.
  • Escalating War: Between the gangs and police.
  • Eye Take: Leito gives a very revealing one to Damien during his Car Fu exhibition in the police building.
  • Bittersweet Ending: At the end of the film, Gassman's plans to blow D13 and displace all the poor into the other districts is thwarted, and the leads get the promise from the President to rebuild the district with new low-income housing and better urban planning. Assuming, evidently, that five mafiosos, a cop and a street fighter will be able to get that point across and avoid a broken promise like the one who gives start to the very film.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Parkour example, as everybody seems to know it, from the DISS operatives to the B13 gangsters. None of them has Leito's level, however.
  • Faceless Mooks: The DISS goons, who wear gas masks.
  • Firing in the Air a Lot: In the opening pan across the anarchy that is B13.
  • Gang of Hats: Several of these team up, including Generic Ethnic Crime Gangs of Africans, Arabs and Chinese, a gang of skinheads and a gang of gun-runners. The heads of these form a Five-Token Band with Leito for the final showdown.
  • General Ripper: Gassman.
  • Get into Jail Free: Leito uses a cheeky version of this tactic to get into the cells and free Damien.
  • Groin Attack: Tao uses one against a soldier, and immediately after Damien takes out Roland with another.
  • 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, as they are going to assault a government building and emphasis is done in not to harm its personnel. The soldiers guarding the president are actually seen trying to draw their weapons, but they get overpowered by a wave of incredibly badass streetfighters and are forced to fight hand-to-hand as well, getting the shorter end of the stick without deaths as Damien planned.
  • 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 gangsters before being rolled up in a rug.
  • Information Wants to Be Free
  • Introdump: The gang parlay, cortesy of Leito.
  • Knowledge Broker: Tao, who owns a makeshift military Hacker Cave.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Roland suggests this, but Damien points out that you don’t get to decide when "the rules" apply and when they don’t.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The Big Bad's plan is to incite a war between the gangs and the police in order to justify clearing them out.
  • Machete Mayhem: We’re told this is Molko’s Weapon of Choice, but he never gets to use one.
  • Mook Chivalry: A fatal mistake by the soldiers who surround Tao.
  • Nazi Protagonist: Downplayed. The movie presents a neo-nazi who is still an antiheroic character. It's pretty much Informed Attribute as he doesn't have any line except approving Leito's speech about the ghetto's factions being one big family when it comes to outside threats.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Tao’s outfit involves a see-through top and some well-placed pasties.
  • No-Sell: Damien's undercover mission goes rather well, he just sedates every major drug dealer one by one as they are invited in the office he took over. Then the last one, who is also smaller than the other guys, shrugs off the tranquilizer and makes enough noise to alert the guards outside. The dealer was his own best customer and tells Damien he is on so many stimulant he hasn't slept in two days.
  • One-Man Army: Damien, who Leito notes has not lost his senses.
  • 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.
  • The Quiet One: Karl the skin only says roughly three words through the entire film.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Little Montana is almost a midget, but he can shoot Guns Akimbo like a champ.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: 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 it is Leito who uses the Hot-Blooded Indy Ploy tactis while Damien's prefers cold head and Guile Hero tactics.
  • Scary Black Man: Molko, and with good reasons aside from his appearance.
  • She-Fu: Tao, involving the most extreme example of a Tomboyish Ponytail ever.
  • Shout-Out: A somber Asiatic character with dark eyes and strange gestures who is crouching barefoot on furniture while eating wanly, all of them in a dark lit Hacker Cave? It looks like L Lawliet has got a Distaff Counterpart.
  • State Sec: The DISS
  • Use Your Head: Skinhead Karl can destroy cars with his head, and uses it to knock Roland out of his misery at the end. Leito also uses a sucker-timed headbutt to take out a cop and make the rest arrest him.
  • Villainous Gentrification: The Evil Chancellor's whole plot entails creating enough civil violence in District 13 so he has an excuse to unleash the full power of the police on the area, move out the residents by force, and replace the low income housing with luxury apartments constructed by various companies he has invested in.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Damien and Leito are solid pals, but they spend a good part of their time snarking at each other.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: It's entirely possible David Belle spends less time wearing a shirt than not. Among the gangsters at the end there is a barechested one as well.
  • World of Badass: It's District B13, after all.