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Review: District 13: Ultimatum

Balletic beatdowns aplenty
By SHAULA CLARK  |  February 17, 2010
2.5 2.5 Stars

In 2004, Luc Besson's District B13 [Banlieue 13] wall-jumped its way into our hearts by thrusting the urban acrobatics of parkour onto the big screen. Its frenetic stunts and gritty grindhouse setting (a lawless, fenced-off ghetto reminiscent of Escape from New York) proved a potent combo.

Now, scriptwriter Besson is back with a sequel (directed by Patrick Alessandrin), and it comes packing balletic beatdowns aplenty. If you've ever wanted to see someone bludgeon a roomful of henchmen with a Van Gogh painting, this is your movie. Too bad it's not all gonzo backflips up elevator shafts — the ass kickings pause occasionally to advance a hamfisted plot in which supercop Damien (Cyril Raffaelli) and street rat Leïto (parkour founder David Belle) race to stop profiteering-minded villains from bombing District 13 to smithereens so the bourgeoisie can move in.

The beyond-inane ending lands with an audible thud. Still, if you enjoyed the first installment, Ultimatum will probably be right up your alley . . . not to mention your fire-escape railing and your rooftop ledge.

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