District B13 (2004)

1I don’t know. Perhaps I’m burned out on action films, particularly from action films with flashy stunts that don’t serve much of a purpose. In the end, “District B13” is a string of action sequences featuring shoot outs, fight scenes, and acrobatics, and not much of a story or characterization to keep us watching. I mean sure, the action scenes are great, but I couldn’t pretend to care when I wasn’t sure who was who and what the grand plot of the entire film is supposed to be.

“District B13” and its action scenes are surprisingly boring, and bland, and I found myself wanting more within the hand to hand combat that I didn’t get. I expected a lot from this, and I received very little in return. There are your basic MacGuffin’s: a bomb, drugs, and kidnappings that really are only there to be a backdrop for the stuns, and not actually help to provide a plot. And with a film that’s really only a little over eighty minutes, there’s not much room for one. I can see this being shown at exhibits exemplifying great stunt work on screen, but beyond that, the choreography is routine, and the purposes of said action scenes blatant.

It doesn’t flow from story to stunt, but gives us stints of dialogue and arbitrary character conflict then introduces the perfect scenarios in which our characters can basically escape any situation unscathed while the opponents pace around unable to hit the side of a barn, let alone one man with a blunt instrument. “District B13” comes off more like a theme park show than an actual film, it’s there to deliver stunts and never an actual story. The futuristic setting is meaningless, the war zone elements serve only to add an capricious “Mad Max” atmosphere, and the dichotomy between the officer and the rebel all too rehashed for and featured for no apparent reason.

The plot here is basically a stock backdrop for our characters. Enemy has a bomb, villain has someone kidnapped that our hero has to rescue, while the two male opposites argue and bicker and huff and puff ad nauseum. When the film is over people won’t be quoting it, nor will they be picking their favorite characters, they’ll just recount the stunts for a little while, and move on to something else. That’s how all these flashy action films end up. As filler for a boring afternoon, then “District B13” will serve a purpose, yet really be nothing more than empty entertainment without much value. There’s really nothing astonishing behind it, nothing original, and when you feel lost in an action film, its poor writing and directing at work.