Sunday, April 27, 2014

Brick Mansions Review

The last weekend of April isn't typically known for it's amazing movies. That's because the first weekend of May starts the summer season in Hollywood and movies usually try to avoid opening up in the shadow of whatever big blockbuster kicks things off. This year, the last weekend of April brought us two movies -- a chick flick and a dude flick. The Other Woman was our chick flick of the week. It stars Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Sports Illustrated's swimsuit darling Kate Upton. And you know Upton was brought in for her body, not her acting skills. The movie looked dumb to me. I instead chose to see the dude flick Brick Mansions. I didn't really expect much of it, but what did tip the scales in getting me to go see it was that this is the last movie that Paul Walker completed before he died. Yes, it was a dumb movie. But it was a dumb movie that entertained me the whole time. That's the purpose of dude flicks -- aka brainless action movies. If you are a chick, you may not understand why I like these movies, but I also don't understand chick flicks. They are the exact same movie done a million times over with no predictability. So I'd say we're on the same page here.

In reviewing Brick Mansions, I need to start with the most important part. Paul Walker. I learned to like the guy. Is he the best actor in the world? No. But I got used to him in the Fast and Furious movies and quite frankly, there are a lot worse actors out there. Does he give the performance of a lifetime in Brick Mansions? No. He's typical Paul Walker in this. If you hate his acting skills, than this is not a movie that will change your mind. You may feel like you're disrespecting the dead by making fun of him, but I think it's good to be real and not suddenly turn into his biggest fan because he died. That bothers me. But being real, I did like Paul Walker and his acting didn't bother me. Honestly, I like the role he plays in this movie. I think he did a good job. We'll get his official last movie next year with Fast and Furious 7, the one that he didn't finish and thus had to be postponed, but with this being his last completed movie, I think it's a good homage to him. If you are like me and you liked Paul Walker, I'd suggest you go see this movie. When the end credits rolled, the first thing that showed up was "In loving memory of Paul Walker" shown with a picture of him. That almost made me tear up. It's super sad that he lost his life at such a young age. I'll miss him.

Now about the movie itself? Brick Mansions is a remake of the 2004 French movie District B13. Now I'm usually one of the first people to complain when a movie is remade. That said, I didn't have a problem with this one being remade. First off, it's a French movie that no one outside of France had ever even heard of before Brick Mansions came out. Second, Luc Besson did both movies. It seems more plausible if you are remaking your own movie for a broader audience. Anywho, the movie takes place in Detroit. In the movie, there is a section of town called the Brick Mansions that's dominated by gangs. In that, the leader has a bomb that is going to go off in about 10 hours, so an undercover cop is sent in to stop that bomb from going off.

Is this the best plot ever? No. Does the movie have the best acting ever? No. Does this movie follow all the laws of physics? No. Are there are a lot of unrealistic things that happen. Of course. Does this movie suffer from what I have called "The Dark Knight Rises Syndrome" where in the end the timer on the bomb for some reason goes a lot slower than it should? Yes. But this is a movie where I went in and turned off my brain and just had fun with it. That doesn't always work for me, but in this instance it did. The plot was good enough. The acting was good enough. The action was a lot of fun. The movie resolved itself in a way that made me satisfied. And it was great to see Paul Walker one last time before Fast and Furious 7. Because of all this, I will reward Brick Mansions with a 7/10, which is a lot more generous than many have given it.

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