As fans of the “Fast and Furious” series continue to mourn to the tragic death of Paul Walker this past November, the trailer for his final complete film “Brick Mansions”, a Hollywood remake of urban thriller “District B13” starring Cyril Raffaelli and David Belle, has arrived online.
Originally released in 2004, the film quickly became recognized as the French answer to “Ong Bak” with its unique and then never-before-seen blend of martial arts with the discipline of parkour, in which the practitioner, known as a “traceur”, learns to evade pursuers and navigate his or her surroundings in the most economical means possible.
Seen as something of a cousin to martial arts, the art of parkour has gained worldwide exposure with the advent of YouTube, home to thousands upon thousands of videos showing traceurs in action, but it truly was its depiction in “District B13” that was the catalyst for ascent of parkour into worldwide popularity (the fact that one of the stars of the film, David Belle, was also one of the art’s original creators probably had something to do with that, as well.)
In “Brick Mansions”, Belle will reprise his role of Leito (renamed Lino) from the original film, with Walker assuming the role of Damien originally portrayed by Cyril Raffaelli, along with rapper RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan making an appearance. Even before his appearances in “District B13” and it’s sequel, Raffealli was highly regarded by martial arts fans after giving Jet Li a run for his money in 2001’s “Kiss of the Dragon”, with a climactic fight that called upon both men to slow down in order to be seen clearly on film.
Walker, too, was a highly adept martial artist, holding a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (with a posthumous promotion to black belt) and hoped to be seen as an “ambassador for Jiu-jitsu” through his work in action films. Following his demise, production on the seventh installment in the “Fast and Furious” franchise was halted in order for the film to be rewritten to retire Walker’s character from the series, with the release date being postponed to April 10, 2015. Thus, “Brick Mansions” will mark Walker’s final complete appearance on film.
It is terribly unfortunate that both “Brick Mansions” and “Fast and Furious 7” will each be saddled with an aura of sorrow in light of Walker’s untimely death. The trailer certainly sells the remake as being on the same level as the original, and having Belle reprise his own role grants the film great legitimacy among fans of the original, as well as promising that the remake will not be a poor reflection of its ancestor as so many remakes tend to be. With any luck, “Brick Mansions” will achieve the same success as “District B13”, along with realizing Paul Walker’s dream of being an ambassador for Jiu-jitsu.
“Brick Mansions” will hit theaters on April 25.