District 13: Ultimatum (Banlieue 13 – Ultimatum, France, 2009)

Macho elegance

Macho elegance

Sampling a few reviews I find a degree of unanimity about how bad this film is… but it isn’t. I had enjoyed District 13 (France, 2004) only for its stunning stunts – parkour and martial arts. My memory isn’t good enough to state whether they are even better in the sequel but some of them are literally jaw-dropping. I enjoyed the humour too and – possibly most of all – the unbelievable plot that unites (class consciousness) the ethnicity-based ‘tribes’ in the banlieu against the corrupt establishment.

OK this is a Marxist fantasy but how often is Marxism dramatised in cinema? At a time where Marxist analysis of Capitalism is demonstrating its accuracy it’s good to see the underclass winning. Of course, the film isn’t a ‘call to arms’, a Brechtian shout to get involved, but it can be read that way.

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