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District 13: Ultimatum: movie review

Set in the ghettos of Paris, ‘District 13: Ultimatum’ is an action-packed drama that pits an urban gang against government thugs.

By Peter RainerFilm critic / February 5, 2010

As sequels go, Patrick Alessandrin’s “District 13: Ultimatum,” which follows “District B13” and was written by Luc Besson, isn’t half bad. In the first film, a French ghetto inhabited by warring racial gangs was on the verge of an urban makeover. Now it’s two years later, and the bad guys in the government want to nuke the place altogether.

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The sole good guy, it seems, is the president, who just can’t get himself to push the red button. His stalling sets the stage for a team of multiethnic gangland rescuers – blacks, Chinese, Arabs, gypsies, and skinheads – led by the original film’s dynamic duo, elite cop Damien Tomaso (Cyril Raffaelli) and reformed vigilante Leïto (David Belle).

It’s easy to call this film a video action game starring real people, but that “real” part means a lot. I’d rather see a world-class martial artist like Raffaelli do his thing instead of a CGI simulacrum. As for Belle, he is renowned as the inventor of Parkour, a type of urban martial art that involves keeping in constant forward motion while bouncing off walls and ledges and people’s noggins. Some days I know just how he feels. Grade: B (Rated R for some violence, language, and drug material.)