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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Crime > French > D13 - U (aka District 13 – Ultimatum/2009/Magnolia/MagNet Blu-ray)

D13 - U (aka District 13 – Ultimatum/2009/Magnolia/MagNet Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: C     Film: C



NOT to be confused in any way, shape or form in being a sequel to the Academy Award-nominated District 9 (2009, reviewed elsewhere on this site), District 13 – Ultimatum is a sequel to the equally formulaic District 13 from a few years ago, written and produced by ubiquitous hack filmmaker Luc Besson (he did not direct here, but he might as well have), it is simply a flashy piece of trash with some restraint and more money than usual.


For those lucky enough to miss the original, in a plot that is sort of like the Nick Nolte/Eddie Murphy hit 48 HRS (1982) but for total idiots, an undercover police officer and criminal in a near-future France (yawn) decide to reunite to take on five different head gangsters in the title locale.  Of course, this is just an excuse for action sequences, so-so martial arts, explosions and other incidents very thinly tied together by the closest facsimile to a plot they can come up with, all while not admitting it is formula.


Leads David Belle (as Leito) and Cyril Raffaelli (Captain Damien Tomaso) have limited chemistry, the film never really adds up to much and though Besson and director Patrick Alessandrin think they are somehow continuing the earlier tradition of French thrillers, Noir and heist films with world cinema elements added, they are just phoning in a phony formula film that thinks it is better than the Hollywood equivalent it is actually imitating.  Even 48 HRS Writer/Director Walter Hill did better when he recycled his hit as Red Heat (on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) back in 1998.  It only rates as well as it does because they did not totally screw this up.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image was shot in Super 35mm film format by Director of Photography Jean-Francois Hensgens and though I expected the digital work and quick cutting to be sloppier and image to have more motion blur and detail troubles like most Besson work, this is much sharper, clearer and consistent than expected.  That it looks this good is a surprise and I doubt it could look any better.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mix is also as good, though it can be harsh in some of the highs and finer points.  The combination may not be demonstration quality, but it is professional.


Extras include a Making Of Featurette, HDNet special on the release, Production Diary, superfluous Music Video and Deleted & Extended Scenes that don’t do much.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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