You know those ridiculous action movies where a bad guy with, say, four large guns gets beaten up by a quick-witted good guy with absolutely zero guns? They've got nothing on Brick Mansions. A remake of 2004's Luc Besson-scripted Banlieue 13, the thriller is essentially a long string of adrenaline-soaked sequences where our heroes using the Gallic art of street gymnastics called parkour defeat entire crowds of heavily armed villains simply by flipping and jumping faster than speeding bullets. There's a plot, too, but it's a lot less interesting: A narcotics cop (Paul Walker) grudgingly teams up with a DIY vigilante (David Belle) to take down a drug lord (RZA) in a dystopian Detroit where housing projects have become walled-off crime incubators thanks to the draconian mayor (Richard Zeman). Ready for more backflips yet?
Directed by Camille Delamarre, the movie has Besson's comic-realism fingerprints all over it: There's a smoking-hot supervillainess (Ayisha Issa) who wears a push-up bra to work, a rogue Russian nuclear device that somehow made its way to southeast Michigan, and a go-go-go efficiency to the story, as though the script were just a few pages of scribbled quotes and stick-figure explosions. It's fun to watch at first. All that twirling and sliding is a nice change of pace from the usual seat-shaking pyrotechnics. And Walker, in one of his final roles, radiates the same golden-boy charisma that warmed the Fast & Furious series. But as the bar of realism lowers (of the approximately 1 quadrillion bullets fired in the movie, only one manages to graze Walker's ear) so will your patience, until you're half-tempted to try flipping your way out of the theater. C-