Brick Mansions is set in Detroit, 2018, and rioting is in full flow in housing block known by this film’s very title.
The council want to regenerate the area, which means that the tower blocks must come down first. Think “The Wire”, but just not that quality of writing.
Lino (David Belle) washes his drugs down the bathplug, and escapes from some heavies, led by K2 (Gouchy Boy) with some fantastically-choreographed parkour action, but the most urgent question is surely, why are their names pronounced “Lee-no” and “Key-2”, rather than ‘Lino’ like the flooring, and ‘K2’ like the mountain?
Then there’s Lola, who’s not a showgirl but a waitress and the girlfriend of Lino, but she’s played by Catalina Denis who also gets to do a bit of the fisticuffs rather than being the average dumb-girlfriend type, so that makes for an added bonus.
Where Detective Collier (Paul Walker) comes in to their world is to locate and disarm a neutron bomb, or what the government prefer to call, a neutron-assisted device, since “Bomb has such negative connotations”. It’s in the possession of the main baddie, Tremaine (rapper RZA), who’s going to set it off and destroy the mainland unless they give him a big stack of cash. He, in fact, also has a rather off-the-wall girlfriend in tow, called Rayzah (Ayisha Issa). Coincidence? Nah.
This is all a tough ask, and to make it even worse, he has to partner up with Lino to get the job done. But, this is actually a plus, given how agile Lino is.
In Brick Mansions, cars jump about without a ramp, bad guys have henchmen ready to do their crazy requests, none of them can hit a barn door from 20 paces and so on. It’s very predictable in that way but you didn’t come for Hamlet, you came for 90 minutes of action and bone-crunching kicks and punches, and apart from 10 minutes in the middle when it slows down, it delivers what it promises, with some neat slo-mo thrown in, showing that they’ve filmed it at a higher frame rate than usual and then can slow these scenes down so they look superb, and best seen at home so you can rewatch them.
There’s also some nice one-liners and it would’ve been nice to have a sequel to this film, but sadly Fast & Furious star Paul Walker met his demise in a car accident last November, after attending a charity event for “Reach Out Worldwide.”
Here’s hoping we can still get a follow-up with Belle and Denis. I’d enjoy that.
And I also liked the fact that there’s a bigwig called Tom Berringer. Okay, not quite the same spelling, but anyway…
Go to page 2 for the presentation and the extras.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.