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District 13 - Ultimatum review

Infusing his wham-bang action films with rare Gallic depth, D13 writer/producer Luc Besson once brought a touch of France to Hollywood (take Léon, for example).

Like Crank by way of La Haine, this Patrick Alessandrin-directed sequel reunites David Belle (as free-running free-thinker Leïto) and Cyril Raffaelli (as top cop Damien) for more amphetamised stunt sequences spiked with slivers of social criticism.

Set in a Parisian ghetto that corrupt officials are eager to raze and redevelop, the film begins at a sprint.

A whizzy camera follows Leïto through the CG-augmented slumscape; then Damien survives an almighty smackdown in a booby-trapped strip club dressed as a woman (don’t ask).

When the pace slackens, Bad Boys-style buddy-buddy clichés sneak in, while the climax is disappointingly generic. In short, it feels like Besson has brought a touch of Hollywood to France.

Still, if the film falters when the boys are cracking wise, it’s great fun when they’re cracking bones.

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