Disctrict 13: Ultimatum (Blu-ray Review)

District 13: Ultimatum (Blu-ray Review)District 13: Ultimatum is the sequel to the French film District B13.  I’d wager they dropped the “B” from this film, because of that “other” film involving aliens in South Africa.  In my opinion, District B13 was the first film to truly bring the urban Parkour style to the main stream.  Who do we have to thank for all of this?  None other than the hardest-working man in France: Luc Besson.  Luc wrote and produced it.  He did that with the first one as well.


It’s been 2 years since the events of District B13, but like that old saying goes, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”  Well that pretty much covers District 13: Ultimatum. The government has forgotten all about the people living in the slums known as “districts.”  These districts are sealed off from the normal population.  Everyone lives in a segregated unit.  You’ve got the Africans, Muslims, Asians, Skinheads hustling in stolen goods, weapons, drugs, etc…  Our hero Leito (David Belle) is somewhat of a reformed anarchist, but not really.   He’s still out there causing havoc for the police.

On the other side of town, officer Damien Tomasso (Cyril Raffaelli) is still busting perps and taking out the trash.  I have a feeling that their paths will cross soon enough.  And yet on the other side of town a covert operative team is out to instigate full blown chaos in order for the government to nuke the districts, so that

developers can come in and build luxury living units for the French middle class.  Okay, let’s not over think this.  That’s probably about as much story as there is in this film.  The filmmakers have let the action do most of the talking.

The athleticism of the two leads is astounding.  One can even call them superhuman.  Leito rarely even touches someone, just uses their own momentum to disable them.  Damien is the actual martial artist, and does a fantastic job of laying the hurt down on the bad guys.  Towards the film’s third act, we’re introduced to a character named Tao (Elodie Yung).  She’s a vision to behold.  She has facial tattoos, and blades in her hair that she uses to slice up her opponents.  It’s balls to the wall in the third act, for sure.

District 13: Ultimatum had all the room in the world to get all preachy, but I am pleased that that portion of the film remained, more or less, in the background.  At its heart, it’s a good old-fashioned buddy martial arts action flick.  There are a few moments where it turned video game-like (in terms of some action scenes), but that wasn’t a bad thing, it was actually fun.  If Luc Besson decides to wrap this franchise with a third film, I shall be there.   District 14?  Yes, please!


For such a stylized film, one should also expect a highly stylized video presentation.  District 13: Ultimatum offers just that.  Colors come through in bold tones.  Skin tones also appear very natural.  I detected no obvious signs of DNR.  Considering all of the actors involved are pretty much athletes; sweat, blood drops are all easily distinguished on this blu-ray.  The various areas in the slums appear rich and vibrant, and the cells in the jail appear cool and cold.  It’s like being there!  The film print appears free from any artifacts, dirt, scratches or debris.  It’s a very good-looking film.


As for the audio, get ready to hold on tight.  District 13: Ultimatum is infused with various urban hip-trip-trance tunes that will put your subwoofer to work.  In the slums, you will be dodging bullets, and you will feel every bone crack, thud, punch, slice, and explosion there is.  They spared no expense when they mixed the film.  This audio track is a treat.

Special Features 

It’s your standard fair, although, I enjoyed the French language featurettes more than I thought I would.

  • Making of District 13: Ultimatum – A pretty thorough French (with English subtitles) featurette of what went into making the film.  Highly entertaining.
  • Production Diary – Here’s the nitty gritty stuff.  It’s as if you were right there with cast and crew.  I was surprised to see that they actually shot most of the film in Belgrade, not France.
  • Music Video – French rapper Alonzo provides the tunes.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – Deleted and extended scenes trimmed for pacing and redundancy.
  • HDNet: A Look at District 13: Ultimatum – Americanized promo fluff piece.  I do not understand why they tack on this featurette in addition to it already having two of them.  What for?  
  • Subtitles: The film is presented in its original French language track, therefore, English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles are included.

Final Thoughts  

First off, I will suggest you track down a copy of the first one, because District 13: Ultimatum is a direct sequel, and leaves off where the first one ended.  This film has enough meat and potatoes to satisfy even the most jaded action junkie.  It also has tons of death defying stunts, explosion, martial arts, etc…   Everything a growing boy (or girl) needs!



5 Responses to “Disctrict 13: Ultimatum (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    I’m going to have to check this one out! Thanks G!

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Get the first one. The only thing that sucks about the first one is that the English subtitles are the SDH. I believe the import version has the correct subtitles.

  3. Gerard Iribe

    Oh, I can’t confirm, but the new stateside double pack MAY include the corrected subtitles for the first film. Can’t confirm, though.

  4. Gregg

    I’m in!

  5. F.S.L.

    I’ve recently started watching Blu-ray, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time on the reviews.