District B13

Year: 2004
Production Co: Europa Corp
Director: Pierre Morel
Producer: Luc Besson
Writer: Luc Besson
Cast: David Belle, Cyril Raffaelli, Dany Verissimo

A frenetic, kinetic action movie that doesn't waste too much time on making motivations or relationshps too realistic, dialogue ring too true or physics necessarily obey natural laws.

It's the near future in Paris and huge swathes of the city are cordoned off, the ghettoes inside them deemed too dangerous for the genteel and the borders guarded by heavily armed police who only let passholders through.

When street tough Leito goes up against a powerful local drug gang and they take his sweet sister hostage, he breaks into their fortress using his formidable parkour skills, rescuing the girl and taking the pursuing gang right into the mouth of the waiting cops at the district border.

But he doesn't bank on the breadth of corruption behind the facade, and the cops let the gang go with his sister in tow as their prisoner, locking Leito up instead.

At the same time, dedicated and skilled cop Damien is busting an underground gambling racket in spectacularly violent and bloody fashion using a similar skillset of balletic fighting and shooting skills.

The bad guy, meanwhile, has got his hands on a neutron bomb he intends to blackmail the powers that be with, and the cops send Damien in to defuse it with a cover story as a hardbitten con to forge an alliance with Leito and get himself a free guide inside the district when they escape.

The two reluctantly but never quite convincingly become partners, racing through the mean streets trying to find the bomb and defuse it with the gang of hoods one step behind. The whole thing leaves plenty of opportunity for insane pacing and over the top action and it's everything the Transporter series wanted to be and only the first one really managed. You just know Luc Besson's name is going to be on it somewhere and it is – as writer and producer.

The actress playing the sister, Dany Verissimo, is actually a hardcore porn actress, so if you do as I sometimes do and search for pictures of a pretty actress after seeing her in a movie make sure Google Safesearch is turned on or you're in for a surprise.

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