Escape From Paris

I heartily recommend director Pierre Morel’s District B13 [Banlieue 13], a French action thriller full of great chase scenes (mostly parkouer, running and jumping using building structures as hand and footholds), gritty scenery (a slum district in Paris), and thugs (beaucoup).

In fact, except for the details, it’s virtually a direct transplant to France of John Carpenter’s Escape From New York. Instead of walling off an island and throwing the prisoners in, a slum district — including women and children — has been walled off and left to fester. Instead of the President of the United States and his important information that would end the war, a neutron bomb that could wipe out much of paris is inside the walls. A prisoner is recruited to go in and stop the coming Armageddon, but has to face up against a scheming criminal overlord and fight an ogre.

There are more than enough differences to make it worth your while, but as a fan of the Carpenter movie (and I was enough of one that I wrote a parody script treatment — Escape From Eugene — and devoted my electronic music class project to creating a theme for that) I can only say that the differences — plus some late twists minus the inevitable plot holes — add up to a snappy flick.