Although it has a “by the numbers” approach to its plot that takes out any suspense, Brick Mansions features some great action sequences to keep the audience entertained. Paul Walker and David Belle have solid chemistry as reluctant partners thrown together to take down a vicious drug kingpin played to the hilt by RZA.
Directed by Camille Delamarre and featuring a screenplay by Luc Besson and Bibi Naceri, Brick Mansions’ cast includes Catalina Denis, Ayisha Issa, Carlo Rota, Andreas Apergis, Richard Zeman, Robert Maillet, Bruce Ramsay, and Frank Fontaine.
Borrowing a bit from Escape from New York, Brick Mansions’ plot sees the crime rate in 2018’s Detroit escalated to the point the police have built a containment wall around its worst area to keep the low income, homeless and criminals away from decent society. The area, known as Brick Mansions, has been a paradise to drug kingpin Tremaine (RZA) – who has built his empire with brutal violence and by paying off the corrupt police who patrol the walls.
Although most of Brick Mansions’ citizens accept Tremaine’s rule, ex-convict Lino (Belle) has decided it is time for Tremaine and his people to go. Tremaine kidnaps Lino’s girlfriend and threatens to kill her if Lino won’t surrender to him.
Undercover detective Damien Collier (Walker) is a good cop in a bad town and he is also working to take down Tremaine. Collier’s father was killed in the line of duty, and Collier has slowly been working to bring those responsible to justice with Tremaine the last person on his list.
After Tremaine threatens to destroy the rest of Detroit with a stolen missile, Collier is teamed with Lino to go into Brick Mansion and get the missile and Tremaine. The two men quickly clash, but decide to put their differences aside to save the city and the girl.
Brick Mansions plot is extremely thin and every twist is easily spotted thanks to the way it seems to follow the “buddy cop” genre of two men forced to work together to get the job done. Some of the acting is painful to watch, and the dialogue makes characters like Tremaine seem cheesy instead of menacing.
With that said, the movie excels when it comes to the action sequences with Belle flying all over the screen, and reminding of some of Jackie Chan’s early films. Belle’s fight choreography gives the film some truly memorable moments and leaves the audience wanting to see more.
Walker is solid in the role, and brings his own intensity to his action sequences. It was interesting to see the talented actor hold his own against the high-flying Belle. Brick Mansions won’t go down as one of Walker’s best movies, but his talent in the genre is clear from his opening action sequence.
The Blu-ray includes the theatrical and unrated cut of the film. Bonus materials includes behind-the-scenes with Paul Walker, RZA and how the characters were created for the film.
Brick Mansions isn’t the best action flick made, but manages to entertain thanks to fast moving action sequences, and its talented cast. Fans of the genre will find enough to enjoy the film and I look forward to seeing what Belle does next.