It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
There is a limit to how far down you can jump and land on your feet and not break an ankle. Well, isn't there? I ask because these limits don't seem to apply to the cops who are the heroes of "District 13: Ultimatum." Nor, incredibly, do they apply to the bad cops who chase them across the rooftops of Paris while burdened with full SWAT team uniforms, including bulletproof vests. There isn't a single character who lands bad and then limps away.
I know, I know. It's all done with special effects. Yes, but -- well, see the movie. The height of a jump can be exaggerated by oblique camera angles and lenses. Hong Kong experts use wires and trampolines. Hollywood sidesteps the issue by editing so quickly no physical movement is ever quite entirely seen. Yes. But consider that the co-star of "District 13" is a 35-year-old Frenchman named David Belle, famed as the man who named parkour, which is "the art of flight." This is a hot modern martial art. Not only do the shots look convincing, not only are they held long enough to allow us to see an entire action, but Belle in real life does a version of this stuff.
The stuff is what intrigues me. The screenplay is another of the countless works of Luc Besson, who is the most productive person in modern action movies. It's a sequel to his 2004 film in which a walled-off segment of Paris in 2010 was run by black, white, Asian and Arab warlords, with a fifth one left over I couldn't categorize. There is a plot within a crooked high-level security agency to destroy the district and rebuild it. This massive work will be accomplished by the corporation that has bribed them, named Harriburton, which does not remind you of anything, of course.
The president of the French Republic is not in on the scheme. He believes in liberty, equality, fraternity and the constitution, which would make him unpopular with Harriburton. Anyway, after they luckily see a citizen video showing bad cops murdering good cops and blaming it on gangs in District 13, it's up to Damien (Cyril Raffaelli) and Leito (David Belle) to single-handedly stop the evil scheme.