Brick Mansions Review
Paul Walker was an actor I was fairly indifferent about. I thought he was just another Hollywood action man. It wasn't until "Running Scared" in 2006 that he really started to show his true colors, and those colors I was a fan of. As the "Fast and Furious" franchise began to improve himself, I found myself becoming more and more impressed with Walker's body of work. So when he finally did pass away, it truly was sad. I think we were just beginning to see what Walker could do onscreen, and its a shame we will not see more, and it is equally shameless we will never see what he could have become.
"Brick Mansions" is a feels like a regular action movie. It feels like the stock action film that always comes out in the early months of each year. It shows another painful glimpse into a dark future. In 2018, the city of Detroit's crime rate has skyrocketed, leading to the formation of Brick Mansions. Brick Mansions becomes a government-created slum where all the most notorious criminals of the city are housed. This is all in an effort to keep the crime of Detroit contained and quarantined from the rest of the city. While "Brick Mansions" dips into the world of the dystopian, it does so in a way that hits home. I can't remember a time when the city of Detroit was not in the top five most dangerous cities in our country, and I liked how grounded in reality this movie set itself in.
Paul Walker plays Damien Collier, an undercover who is trying make a difference in the city of Detroit, including Brick Mansions. Little by little, he is making a difference. He understands that Brick Mansions isn't just a place of criminality, but also the poor and disenfranchised youth. He is doing so well tackling the bad guys that he gets a gig of a lifetime by the mayor, he will finally be able to bring down the crime-lord who killed his father in the line of duty. The catch is that Collier will be assisted by Lino (David Belle), a Brick Mansions resident who was incarsarated for killing a cop. It comes to light that Lino's girlfriend is being held by Tremaine (RZA), the same crime-lord that killed Collier's father. They make an uneasy alliance to find Tremaine and bring him to justice.
"Brick Mansions" is a film that feels familiar. The characters are not who they seem, the characters staring us in the face are the true villains, and Collier uncovers a deeper, corrupt mystery. It all feels very similar to other cop thrillers as of late. What separates "Brick Mansions" is that it doesn't settle for the guns-blazing climax so many of these films do. What surprised me about the film is how little blood is spilled in the film. That isn't to say that "Brick Mansions" doesn't feature any good action scenes, because it certainly does. There is a sharp cinematography by Christophe Collette and big scenes that will make your mind melt.
The film also benefits by a focused performance by Paul Walker. Everything we have come to enjoy from him from "Fast and Furious" is on fine display here. I also have to make a shout-out to David Belle. I hope this film becomes a real standout for him as an actor, because he is a guy who has "tomorrow's action hero" stamped all over him. He is forced to be reckoned with in this film and he was a ball to watch. We don't see RZA as a villain too often and he was able to sell his character very well.
This isn't a movie that will revolutionize the action genre. But if a couple hours of hardened action is what you want, that is exactly what you will recieve. It may not have the best storytelling or narrative, but it is certainly badass. Sometimes, that is all that is needed.
FINAL GRADE: B