District 13: Ultimatum takes place three years after the original District B13, which essentially means 2016/the ominously near future. D13 (as the hep beatniks call it) remains a racially diverse ghetto that is ruled by gangs. Leïto (David Belle) is still the king of his high-rise, despite not being a drug or weapons dealer and resembling that guy from How I Met Your Mother. Nobody ever explains how he attained such a position of power, but "parkour" appears to be the answer. After the events of District B13, it looked like D13 would be cleaned up (with Leïto's cooperation) by the government and made into a somewhat hospitable area; that never happened. Now, somebody wants Leïto dead, for reasons that were lost to me. Let's just assume he's being framed. Meanwhile, supercop Damien (Cyril Raffaelli) is still a total badass, even when he's forced to go undercover as a sexy lady. Correction: especially when he's a sexy lady.
|L-R: Josh Radnor and a "your mother"|
The acting in District 13: Ultimatum is hard to gauge because the subtitles are pretty awkward. In some movies, that would be an insurmountable problem, but D13:U treats it as a mild inconvenience. Of course, it helps that this movie doesn't rely on acting. Instead, this is the French equivalent of a Jackie Chan movie, without the gags. David Belle, founder of parkour, is definitely not much of an actor. He does have some pretty effortless (and allegedly stuntman-free) action sequences, though:
The acting is really negligible, outside of those two "actors," so I won't bother with the rest of the cast. BUT, if you're the sort of person who wonders aloud when they see a recognizable actor, the chick with the hair-as-a-weapon was Elodie Yung, who had a brief part in the American version The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and might feature prominently in the next G.I. Joe movie.
|It's like her character was inspired by Willow Smith|
If District 13: Ultimatum was never going to be about the acting, then how about the direction? Well, let's just say that director Patrick Alessandrin wisely chooses to play to his cast's strengths.
|Like flying, for example|
|This is how the cast reacts when someone calls "LINE!"|
Unfortunately, for every inspired action sequence, there are two that serve as filler. Don't misunderstand me --- the physicality of the actors is extremely impressive. And there are a lot of action scenes. Not every action scene is very exciting, though.
The heroes have beat the bad guys and saved District 13 from being bombed into the Paleolithic era. So what do they do? They order District 13 to be bombed into the Paleolithic era. And the weirdest thing? Both sides had exactly the same argument. That is just reprehensibly dumb.
|Dumber than even he looks|