Forgotten Friday Flick – “District 13: Ultimatum”

With a brand new year ahead I have a desire to delve into all things cinema outside the US for a while and highlight some memorable movies with a fine foreign flair – welcome to the first 2018 Forgotten Friday Flick!  Today we’re heading to the city of lights for a little sizzling sequel action that doesn’t require first film knowledge to seriously satisfy.  Seems some ambitious government boys decide to pull a fast one on the regular folk and a rogue cop and his high-flying buddy must use their fast fists skills to take them down.  (Alongside a bevy of brutal gang leaders out to do some damage of their own!)  Set-ups, double crosses, corruption at the highest levels and a pinch of parkour – there’s gonna be trouble in…District 13: Ultimatum!

With the shut off and ravaged District 13 now under the control of local gangs, there has been little in terms of progress keeping the peace.  But one corrupt man high in government named Gassman sees a chance to start anew by staging a scandalous event and placing in fight inside the ravaged district with a chance to manipulate the powers that be to level the area for good.  But what he doesn’t count on is the tenacity and skills of rogue cop Damien Tomaso and his agile buddy Leïto who not only know the truth, but also enlist the unruly gangs of the district to kick some high powered ass.

While the story frame of District 13: Ultimatum is a simple one, the film actually manages to pack a massive amount of movie into a small one hundred and six minute time frame with adept ease.  Filling the flick with backstory, tasty action set pieces, colorful characters and plenty of parkour all the while not requiring a viewing of the previous outing (I saw it AFTER this one – and it was still better!), Director Patrick Alessandrin skillfully and stylistically (the opening sequence truly set the worlds within!) creates a captivating outing.  In fact, all of the films’ wares equally contribute to its visual success and savvy – a rare quality not only for a film but in the arena of sequels.

What’s not to love?  There’s the previously mentioned style that enhances the action, a sensational score that drives the flick forward, the penetrating parkour that grows more bold as the film unspools (the thrilling fight while holding a rare van Gough is pure Jason Bourne stuff!) and the stunts that have an awe-struck quality.  Not to mention that Alessandrin’s cast is also killer and fills out the best in terms of memorable quirky characters.  There are of course the two lead heroes from the first film ala dedicated cop Cyril Raffaelli and honest ex-thug David Belle (who again have as much cool chemistry as they do marvelous moves!), but there are also a slew of awesome baddies that help them along the way including Elodie Yung’s lovely lethal gal Tao (watch out for that razor sharp hair!), James Deano’s hard headed Karl, Fabrice Feltzinger’s gun loving Little Montana (insert Scarface reference here!), MC Jean Gab’1’s machete toting Molko and Laouni Mouhid’s somber faced Ali-K.  And even though most are introduced well into the third act of the film (normally death for any movie!), all are so detailed, interesting and downright dramatic that it’s like extra icing on an already cool cinematic cake.

While there have been ups and downs for famed filmmaker Luc Besson, especially as a producer, District 13: Ultimatum represents the best of his efforts.  With everyone involved doubling down for one exciting adventure that surpasses the original in all expectations and then some, this is a district that ultimately gets better with each exciting visit.  (Aka when is the next trip?!)


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

1 Response to “Forgotten Friday Flick – “District 13: Ultimatum””

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    I really got to watch this again. I love the first and while I liked the sequel, it felt underwhelming by comparison. Been looking forward to checking it out again.