A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that District 13: Ultimatum is a violent comic book-style movie intended to inspire laughter and applause rather than anger and tension. But it's still filled with guns, drugs, and other violent images, mainly as an attempt to depict the crime-ridden, walled-off slum neighborhoods of a futuristic Paris. A sequel to the French film District B13 (2004), the movie is presented in French with English subtitles -- including translations of some swearing. Despite all the violent imagery, the two heroes generally act selflessly and for the good of others, and their martial arts skills are very impressive. Mature teens can probably handle it.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In Paris of 2013, a video depicting thugs shooting up a police car hits the Internet, causing a major riot in and around the city's walled-off, crime-ridden districts. Cop Damien Tomaso (Cyril Raffaelli) is suddenly arrested for drugs (which were planted in his kitchen). He calls his old pal, Leito (David Belle), who lives in "District B13," to help break him out of prison; together they try to figure out what's going on. It turns out that the video was a setup, designed and directed by baddies from a big corporation who have an evil plan. Leito and Damien realize that they can only stop such a powerful foe by assembling a team of criminals from within the district.
Is it any good?
A sequel to 2004's District B13, DISTRICT 13: ULTIMATUM certainly isn't perfect. It isn't as slick or clean as its predecessor, and it stumbles a few times over the political axe it wishes to grind. And even though its heart seems to be in the right place, it uses some cartoonish stereotypes that don't seem to mix with its political ideas.
Moreover, the violence is extreme, especially in the depiction of the crime-ridden, walled-off district. But even if the martial arts and "parkour" moves seem a bit more forced this time around, they're still dazzling and exciting, and the movie manages to move briskly and cheerfully through its running time. Overall, it's solid, B-level popcorn entertainment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's action and violence. How does watching the martial arts and parkour make you feel -- energized, inspired, repulsed, discouraged? Do you think watching this kind of movie inspires teens and adults to try some of the action or violence in real life?
Talk about the concept of the walled-in neighborhoods. In the future, Paris has separated and sealed off crime-ridden neighborhoods from the rest of the city. What are the effects of this act? Is it a good or bad idea? Do you see any similarities to neighborhoods today?
The bad guy is affiliated with a company called "Harriburton." How is this intended to mirror real life events?
- In theaters: February 5, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: April 26, 2010
- Cast: Cyril Raffaelli, David Belle
- Director: Patrick Alessandrin
- Studio: Magnet Releasing
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: some violence, language and drug material
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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