District 13

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District 13
French-language poster
Directed byPierre Morel
Produced byLuc Besson[1]
Written by
Distributed byEuropa Corp.
Release date
  • 10 November 2004 (2004-11-10) (France)
Running time
86 minutes
Budget€13 million[2]
Box office$9.6–$11.6 million[3][4]

District 13 (French title Banlieue 13 or B13), is a 2004 French action film directed by Pierre Morel and written and produced by Luc Besson.[5] The film is notable for its depiction of parkour in a number of stunt sequences that were completed without the use of wires or computer generated effects. Because of this, some film critics have drawn comparisons to the popular Thai film Ong-Bak.[6][7][8] David Belle, regarded as the founder of parkour, plays Leïto, the main character of the story.


In 2010, social problems have overrun the poorer suburbs of Paris. Especially Banlieue 13, commonly referred to as B13: a ghetto with a population of two million people. Unable to control B13, the authorities surround the entire area with a high wall topped by barbed tape, forcing the inhabitants within to survive without education, proper utilities or police protection. Police checkpoints stop anybody going in or out. Three years later, the district has become overrun with gangs. Leïto (David Belle) is a fighter of such gangs. He disposes of a case of drugs down a drain, then escapes the gang who has come to collect the drugs. The gang's leader, Taha, kidnaps Leïto's sister Lola in retaliation. Leïto is able to rescue her and take Taha to the police station, but the police arrest Leïto and let Taha leave with Lola, stating that they are leaving the district.

Six months later, undercover policeman Damien Tomaso completes a successful operation at a casino in Paris. His next assignment: Taha's gang has taken a bomb from a nuclear transport vehicle and accidentally activated it, giving it 24 hours before it wipes out the district. Posing as a prisoner, Damien infiltrates the district to disarm the bomb. Leïto immediately sees through Damien's cover, but the two reluctantly team up to save Leïto's sister as well. The pair surrenders to Taha in order to gain access to his base, where they find the bomb has been set up on a missile launcher aimed at Paris, with Lola handcuffed to it. Taha demands a high ransom to deactivate the bomb; the government refuses. After Damien gives them Taha's bank account codes, they drain his funds. Leïto and Damien escape, and Taha is killed by his own men when they realize he will be unable to pay them. The much more benevolent K2 takes over and allows Leïto and Damien to stop the bomb.

After fighting their way to the building, Damien calls his contact to receive the deactivation code. However, after recognizing certain symbols in the code, Leïto deduces that the government has framed them, and the code will actually detonate the bomb instead of deactivating it. After Leïto and Damien fight, Lola is able to restrain Damien long enough for the timer on the bomb to run out. The bomb does not explode, proving Leïto right. The pair return to the government building with the bomb and use it to force the government agent to admit that he had planned to blow up B13 as a means to end its existence, catching it on camera and broadcasting nationally. Soon the rest of the government promises to tear down the containment wall and bring back schools and police to B13. Leïto and Damien depart as friends, and Lola kisses Damien, encouraging him to visit B13.



District 13 received mostly positive reviews outside France. It holds a rating of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 115 reviews.[9] On Metacritic it has a score of 70 out of 100 based on reviews from 28 critics.[10] In France, reviews were slightly less positive.[2] The main issues discussed by the French critics were the similarity with both Escape from New York and Ong Bak, and the shallowness of the plot.[11]

Lisa Nesselson of Variety notes that some critics compared the film unfavorably to John Carpenter's Escape From New York but says although the narrative is derivative it "rarely feels that way thanks to bullet pacing, nifty choreography and a few well-placed rejoinders" and also called it "fast, dumb fun".[1] Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "By most standards, District B13 is a fairly routine summer action movie, albeit one in French. But what makes it unique are the truly amazing and kinetic action scenes featuring Parkour pioneer Belle and co-star Cyril Raffaelli."[12]


Filming of a sequel, originally titled Banlieue 14, began in August 2008 in Belgrade, Serbia,[13] and continued until October 2008.[14] David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli both reprised their original roles of Leito and Damien, respectively.[15] The film with Luc Besson again producing and writing the screenplay. The title for the sequel was officially changed to District 13: Ultimatum in the post-production stages.[16] It was released in France on February 18, 2009, and the UK on October 2, 2009.


Brick Mansions is an English-language remake of the film. Set in Detroit, it began pre-production in 2010 by EuropaCorp.[17][18][19][20][21][22] Released in April 2014, it stars Paul Walker as Damien, with David Belle reprising his role from the original and rapper RZA as the gang leader.[22] The film is Walker's final completed film, finished before his death in November 2013.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d Nesselson, Lisa (2004-11-17). "Review: 'Banlieue 13'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-02-14. Heavy artillery, sheer physical dexterity and down-to-the-wire suspense mix well in “Banlieue 13,” a message-based actioner that’s fast, dumb fun.
  2. ^ a b "Banlieue 13". AlloCiné (in French). Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  3. ^ "District B13". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
  4. ^ "Banlieue 13 (2006)". The Numbers. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
  5. ^ Hernandez, Eugene (November 21, 2005). "Magnolia's Plans Spring '06 Release for French Parkour Action Title, "District 13"". Biz. indieWIRE. Archived from the original on March 20, 2006. Retrieved March 14, 2006.
  6. ^ Orndorf, Brian (May 26, 2006). "Reviews - District 13website= FilmJerk.com". Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2007.
  7. ^ Faraci, Devin (June 2, 2006). "Reviews - District 13". Chud.com. Archived from the original on June 15, 2008. Retrieved July 13, 2008.
  8. ^ McAllister, Matt (December 8, 2005). "Reviews - District 13". Futuremovies.co.uk. Retrieved July 13, 2008.
  9. ^ "District B13 (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 2019-10-28.
  10. ^ "District B13". Metacritic.
  11. ^ Carratier, Mathieu. "Critiques de Banlieue 13". Première (in French). Archived from the original on 24 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  12. ^ https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/topic/movie-reviews?vnu_content_id=1002611298
  13. ^ Radojkovic, Marija (July 22, 2008). "Luc Besson shoots his new film in Belgrade". Blic Online. Archived from the original on January 13, 2013. Retrieved September 5, 2008.
  14. ^ Belle, Jean-François. "CASTING Banlieue 13 'la suite'". sportmediaconcept.com (in French). Official Parkour Blog. Archived from the original on June 6, 2008. Retrieved September 5, 2008. Attention le tournage est prévu entre juillet et octobre 2008
  15. ^ Banlieue 13: Ultimatum on IMDb
  16. ^ quietearth (October 29, 2008). "DISTRICT B13 sequel renamed BANLIEUE 13 - ULTIMATUM". quietearth.us. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  17. ^ "Paul Walker dans le remake de 'Banlieue 13' ?" (in French). AlloCine.fr.
  18. ^ Webster, Christopher (February 16, 2010). "Luc Besson prepping 3D scifi prison-break flick SECTION 8". quietearth.us. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
  19. ^ "EuropaCorp Developing 3D Sci-Fi Prison Film". worstpreviews.com.
  20. ^ "EuropaCorp Making 3D Sci-Fi Action Film Section 8". ComingSoon.net. 11 February 2010.
  21. ^ "Paul Walker in Talks to Star in District B-13 American Remake". wegotthiscovered.com. 31 October 2011.
  22. ^ a b c Chang, Justin (April 24, 2014). "Brick Mansions' Paul Walker gives one of his final screen performances in this highly faithful, propulsively exciting remake of 'District B13'". Variety. Retrieved July 25, 2018.

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