The update of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" by Ki:Theory that auto-plays on Brick Mansions' official website is a more variegated cover than the film itself, which is an uglier English-language remake of the Paris-set dystopian action picture District B13 with the dubious addition of RZA as a drug lord whose subordinates might understand him better if he didn't rely so heavily on metaphors related to his mother's cooking. He's the villain here, not the soundtrack composer — almost no one here is allowed to play to their strengths.
No one, that is, except David Belle, the parkour pioneer who reprises his role from B13 as Lino, né Leïto, the Good Man Trying to Clean Up the Ghetto. In the scant spare time this crusade allows him, he enjoys performing inverted sit-ups hanging from a pipe. In the decade since the original picture, Belle has turned 40, but he still moves like a cat bitten by a radioactive spider. Watching him swing from conveniently exposed plumbing lines, cannonballing from window to window, and clambering up fire escapes inspires an awe at the machine that is the human body. And for viewers of a certain age, an overwhelming urge to play Donkey Kong.
First-time director Camille Delamarre is an experienced editor of action pictures with numbers in the titles. Alas, he does the spry Belle no favors by so wantonly using jittery-lens and slow-motion.
There are two different scenes of the late Paul Walker crashing a car. Should the producers have removed these? Certainly they might have done a more tasteful job of the chintzy onscreen dedication to Walker that pops up before the credits.