Brick Mansions (UK - BD RB)
Marcus freeruns his way through this District 13 US remake with Paul Walker
Brick Mansions, Detroit, the near future. A run down housing project, cut off from the rest of the city and a hot target for property developers wanting to modernise the bad part of town. Now if only they could get rid of the residents, especially the free running kind.
Gang leader, Tremaine (RZA) runs the closed off crime scene and Detective Damien Collier (Paul Walker) goes undercover to infiltrate the gang and put a stop to Tremaine’s plan to destroy the city. Former convict Lino (David Belle), whose girlfriend has been kidnapped by Tremaine and generally doesn’t like the gang leader joins Damien and they form an unlikely partnership as they attempt to seek vengeance while preventing the destruction of the city.
Yeah so of course this is a remake of 2004 French Film District 13, it’s also the last film Paul Walker completed before his untimely death in 2013.
Throughout, this is a glorious looking presentation that’s hard to fault. It’s bright, warm, rich in colour and a fine example of a modern HD presentation, despite the rather obvious middling budget the film is playing with. Detail is incredibly crisp, showing off all of the character’s stubble (of which every male character has) as well as the many textures and tattoos of all that parkour and the rather typically primary coloured gang outfits.
No matter the setting, the film pops in 1080p. Daylit scenes leap off of the screen with natural light and boosted primary colours, darker interior scenes retain the sharp edges within glowing light sources and deep, deep blacks. This is a film that thrives on the Blu-ray format and upholds a glossy, crime action fantasy that sells its many stunts in shiny bright ways that will get all those teens out there running and jumping through your town centres because they’re not allowed to skateboard anymore.
The audio track is just as strong even if its not all that creative. Dialogue is central and clear, subtle sound effects back it all up well to to fill out the ambience of scenes. Louder elements such as gunshots and machine gun fire obviously up the game substantially and puts the bass through its paces where ever it can.
The electronic score uses the rear speakers dynamically and adds a real drive to proceedings and the overall effect is very much in line with the sound design of modern gaming and the constant assault of loud layered audio tricks that attempt to keep us locked in to the visuals, even when some of them as way more lacklustre than the pumping audio track would have us believe.
The extras here are super thin. ‘Go Pro Featurette’ (01:53 HD) is not at all a Featurette, it’s just a series of cuts and set footage edited to dance beats.’Inside Brick Mansions’ (02:15 HD) is the flimiiest of making ofs and the same goes for the just about actor focus featurettes with ‘Beyond Brick Mansions - RZA ‘ (02:02 HD) and ‘Beyond Brick Mansions - Paul Walker’ (02:12 HD).
Brick Mansions is one of those low rent action flicks that’s a cobbling together of ideas that doesn't really amount to the an entertaining whole. The free running is alright at times but the street skill has evolved to better places than what's on show in this film so the wow factor is dampened. The car action feels thrown in and the fights not all that convincing and same goes for the stunts, that clearly aren't Paul Walker most of the time. This undermines many of the showcase moments (especially a bit where Walker and Belle jump off a bin as two cars collide and they land on the wrecks), so this is a bit of a non-event with an okay cast doing nothing to really push their limits.
The disc itself shines on all fronts presentation wise but those lousy fluffy extras are basically fast edited trailers with a bit of talking sliced in.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray and have been resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking the individual images, but due to .jpg compression, they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 8th September 2014
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Easter Egg: No
Director: Camille Delamarre
Cast: Paul Walker, RZA, David Belle, Robert Maillet, Carlo Rota
Genre: Action and Crime
Length: 90 minutes
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