District 13: Ultimatum
Cyril Raffaelli is awesome. I’m sure there’s a more eloquent way to express that, but after watching DISTRICT 13: ULTIMATUM, that’s really the best way to describe him. From here on out, I will see anything he’s a part of and much like Jet Li before him, just his presence and his natural talent make a film enjoyable. Perhaps the best part about this film (and its predecessor) is that you feel like you discovered something with Raffaelli. Of course, David Belle isn’t bad either…
There is a story and that’s also surprising given that Luc Besson sometimes sacrifices stories for action. But as you’re moving along 100 miles per hour on this action ride, you may not realize it, but there’s actually a story in here. As a refresher, we’re in the not-so-distant future and France has divided up the country into districts, with each district segregated based on a variety of factors. District 13 is made up of mostly criminals. After the events of the first film, the government decided to “free” the inhabitants of D13 and give them schools, etc. But now we’re three years later and the government didn’t keep its promise. Leito (Belle) is still in D13 and Capt. Tomaso (Raffaelli) is still a super-cop, fighting for justice. After Tomaso is framed and Leito ends up with some evidence, the two team up again and set out to take down the bad guys that want to destroy D13.
Even though there is a story, I don’t want you to get confused in thinking that this is a deep, philosophical film, because it definitely is not. The point of the film is to get Raffaelli and Belle in their elements and watch them do their thing. For the uninitiated, Raffaelli is a martial arts expert to the max and can do crazy stunts. Belle is more of a stuntman and wall climber, who can do some crazy things himself. The two are a great compliment to one another and make a fun team to watch. You know there’s going to be wall climbing, running, jumping, kicking, and just about everything else you can think of and watching it happen on screen is incredible.
But what might be surprising is that Raffaelli and Belle are actually very likable actors. I was thoroughly entertained by them, but I also liked watching them when they weren’t doing their crazy stunts. Raffaelli got his start as a stuntman, but once an American director gets a hold of him, he’ll be a household name. He has the skill level of Jet Li with the looks of Jason Statham; a winning combination for the action hero void Hollywood is currently in.
I typically get a kick out of martial arts movies, or movies that involve a lot of crazy stunts, but DISTRICT 13: ULTIMATUM was one of the better ones I’ve seen. I was thoroughly entertained throughout the film and I found myself wanting more. Even the bad guys and supporting characters were fun to watch. Sure, this film won’t win any Oscars, but it’s a blast and you’re guaranteed to have a good time.