“District 13” is pretty much what you expect from a dystopian French action film. The plot is interesting, the characters are pretty standard, but the thing that makes this film special is the use of parkour in its action sequences. Parkour (aka “extreme running”) has seen various waves of popularity since its conception in the late 80’s but this film has been a window to the extreme sport for the next generation. The film stars David Belle, the founder of parkour, as a vigilante who tries to cleanse his Parisian suburb of gang violence. I enjoyed the story, but not nearly as much as I enjoyed watching Belle get chased around buildings and over rooftops by various bad guys. Naturally, he ends up being paired up with Cyril Raffaelli (another insanely awesome parkour guy) so that they can get chased around together. Bibi Naceri plays a pretty despicable bad guy and Dany Verissimo provides the damsel in distress. A lot of the story is predictable and far-fetched, but it’s worth it for the action sequences. “District 13” isn’t an amazing film, but it is an important preservation of parkour with unbelievable stunts that were filmed without wires or CGI.
[Pictured: It seems like every other scene sports a cool stunt or a long string of stunts by the cast]