Brick Mansions

  • Review Date: April 25, 2014
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Great parkour, cartoonish violence in dumb remake.
  • Review Date: April 25, 2014
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

Age(i)

2
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9
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11
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

In a broad way, the movie speaks out against political powers and the idea of the wealthiest citizens siding against the poorest, separating them and treating them with a lack of respect or humanity. It also shows two different characters learning to work together.

Positive role models

Co-star David Belle is a creator of parkour, the martial art-like skill of moving efficiently through an environment using your body. His training and skill are very impressive, and he may inspire younger viewers to start studying. Unfortunately, his role in the movie requires him to beat up several bad guys -- and even kill a crooked cop.

Violence

Violence is very strong, but it's cartoonish and there's not too much blood. Lots of physical, parkour-style fighting, plus punching, kicking, and slamming; also a lot of shooting and car chases and crashes. Minor characters die. One character is stabbed. Two women have a brutal fight, and one is briefly whipped with a cat o' nine tails. Some violent news footage is shown, with fires and riots. A woman is punched in the face and is kidnapped and walked through a warehouse full of dangerous-looking, leering men who are making catcalls and sometimes reaching out for her (it has a feel of sexual menace). A Taser and a grenade are used. A nuclear device is shown but not detonated.

Sex

The main female character wears a skimpy outfit, with a short skirt that flies up in a few brief shots (nothing sensitive is shown). Another character undoes two buttons on her blouse with a knife (again, nothing sensitive shown). One of the villains is a woman who wears a sexy leather outfit. The main character has an unidentified girl in his apartment, apparently waiting for him in bed. She wears a negligee.

Language

Language isn't frequent but includes the occasional strong word: at least one "f--k," "s--t," the "N" word, "a--hole," "bitch," "damn," and "scumbag." A middle finger gesture is shown.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One of the supporting characters is a drug dealer. Another main character is shown opening several packages of cocaine (or heroin) and dumping it down a bathtub drain. A bad guy visits an underground drug lab, with several masked women working on making and packaging drugs. During a fight, one character throws a handful of the white powder at one of his opponents. The main character drinks a glass of whisky in one scene. Some politicians have a champagne toast. An older character is shown smoking cigarettes; there's talk of him quitting.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Brick Mansions is an American remake of the 2004 French action film District B13; both films highlight the sport/discipline known as parkour (moving efficiently through an environment using your body). Violence includes plenty of fighting and shooting, though for the most part it feels cartoonishly over the top and is light on blood. But minor characters do die, and a female character is shown in situations of menace or peril. Women are also shown wearing sexy outfits, though there's no nudity. Language includes the occasional use of "s--t," the "N" word, and "a--hole." A supporting character is a drug dealer, and great quantities of drugs (either cocaine or heroin) are shown. There's also some minor drinking and smoking. Star Paul Walker died in a car crash before release, and the movie is dedicated to him. 

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In 2018 Detroit, the government has sealed off a dangerous neighborhood known as Brick Mansions to protect its citizens. Inside the district, the drug business -- led by Tremaine (RZA) -- thrives. Lino (David Belle) uses his parkour skills to try to stop Tremaine by intercepting a drug shipment. Meanwhile, a nuclear device has somehow made its way into the district, and undercover cop Damien (Paul Walker) has been sent to disarm it. He's been ordered to team up with Lino, who knows his way around. To make matters even worse, Tremaine has kidnapped Lino's girlfriend (Catalina Denis), and was also apparently responsible for the death of Damien's father. Can our heroes stop the bomb from going off, or will they discover a more sinister plot afoot?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

In 2004, writer/producer Luc Besson created the terrific French-language action movie District B13, with Belle as its amazing, parkour-performing star. It was successful enough to warrant a sequel, District 13: Ultimatum (2010) ... and now comes the inevitable American remake, BRICK MANSIONS. Unfortunately, as things often do, the whole thing sounded better in French. Now even the overarching plot seems ridiculous, not to mention just about every twist and turn within.

For one thing, everyone in the movie seems rather easily fooled by each other. For example, two people somehow manage to escape a warehouse full of thugs simply by pointing a gun at the right person. This happens several times. In other words, none of the characters is very smart, and their actions seldom make sense. But happily, rookie director Camille Delamarre does a fine job with the action sequences, refraining from too much camera-shaking and showing the parkour sequences in all their exhilarating glory.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Brick Mansionsviolence. Did the characters ever seem to be in real danger? Would you have preferred more martial arts and fewer guns? How does the impact of what you see here compare to the kind of violence in a superhero movie? How about a horror movie?

  • Both of the main characters do what they do partly motivated by revenge. Why is revenge so powerful? Is it ever worth pursuing? Does it solve anything?

  • Is David Belle a role model in real life? What about his character in the movie? What does the character do that you wouldn't want to copy?

  • What do you think of the idea of the government sealing off an undesirable neighborhood? Can you think of any real-life events that are similar?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 25, 2014
DVD release date:September 9, 2014
Cast:Paul Walker, David Belle, RZA
Director:Camille Delamarre
Studio:Relativity Media
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Sports and martial arts
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:frenetic gunplay, violence and action throughout, language, sexual menace and drug material

This review of Brick Mansions was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent Written byjohnswanson October 26, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Great action movie, but violence and language abound.

This movie is an exciting action film that stars Paul Walker, and the founder of Parkour, David Belle. If you love chase scenes, then this movie is definitely for you. I would disagree with Common Sense Media that language is rare, because profanity is spoken throughout, so if you are sensitive about language with your kids, then avoid this one. Also, there is some pretty rough violence. While no blood is shown (thus keeping their PG-13 rating), it is still extremely violent so if you are sensitive to the amount of violence your kids see, again avoid this one. While drugs are shown, they are only shown in the context of being bad.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written byJimmy brew October 4, 2014
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

Terrible movie has plenty of cartoonish violence+dumb moments

My rating:R for violence,language,sexuality/nudity and drug use
Parent of a 11 year old Written byedklat September 20, 2014
AGE
11
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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