Actor Paul Walker died in a fiery car crash on November 30 of last year when leaving an event in Valencia, Calif. (near the Magic Mountain theme park). Apparently the driver of the Porsche he was a rider in was speeding 100 mph on Valencia city streets before hitting a tree. PW was a big star primarily because of a series of high-speed car chase films, all of which had the term Fast and Furious in the title.
The latest offering in the Fast and Furious series was in the works when PW died. The last film PW finished was Brick Mansions; a violent potboiler full of high speed car chases, violent fights, suggestions of a drug business, bad guys on both sides of the law and Cirque de Soleil-style acrobatics.
The film itself is a remake of a film from 2004 titled District B-13. In DB-13, one of the two most important characters (the one other than PW), was played by actor/acrobat David Belle. He recreates his role from DB13 in Brick Mansions. As far as I can tell, he even does everything acrobatic the character did in that film. If you haven’t seen DB13 or Brick Mansions, DB is a specialist in chases and escapes over, under and around all obstacles. In the opening scene of the Daniel Craig version of Casino Royale (2006) the same chase is done with James Bond pursuing a well-coordinated bad guy.
The title, Brick Mansions, is based on the idea that in 2018 Detroit is so over-run with crime that the worst area has been walled in. All the bad guys live inside. In DB13 it was Paris 2010 that had the super bad area. One thing leads to another, and it turns out that the bad guys inside the brick mansions acquire a neutron bomb. PW and DB (who is trying to save his girlfriend) must gain entrance to the bad guys’ City of Oz and defuse the bomb or a lot of people are going get neutron-bombed. Complications ensue.
There are lots of the same car chases we’ve seen before, lots of explosions and millions of rounds of ammunition are fired that never hit any of the good guys. The timer is ticking. There’s a Russian rocket. Everybody is fighting with everybody else. The good guys seem to be able to escape from any predicament in two minutes or less and live to fight again. If you believe any of it, then I am sure you will get to keep your doctor.
Paul Walker’s life ended all too soon at age 40. It appears part of his acting persona may have played a part in what he thought he could get away with in real life. There is a dedication to him at the end of the film.
Rated 2.4 out of 4.0 to suspect that first Paris, then Detroit and in a few years DB will return in the same role. Nome, Alaska?