District 13: Ultimatum

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
District 13: Ultimatum Movie Poster Image
Over-the-top French action entertains despite big violence.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 101 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Although you can find some positive messages if you look for them -- such as the heroes' attempt to act for the good of others and the emphasis on enemies learning to set aside their differences and join forces for a greater good -- the constant violence and drug content tend to complicate the message. Also, the movie has a strong political slant: The main villain works for a company called "Harriburton" and plans to blow up the slums so that he can build new buildings and profit handsomely. But the president firmly believes in the French motto "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" and tries to base his decisions around the needs of the poor.

Positive Role Models & Representations

With their unorthodox and sometimes violent methods, the heroes, along with the cast of criminals-turned-crimefighters, are complicated role models. Despite their opposing approaches, working class hero Leito and cop Damien set aside their differences to work together. They struggle hard to restore justice and fairness to the world. Likewise, they're both exceptional martial artists with determination and a clear dedication to training.


Plenty of action, fighting, and chasing, all presented in a broad, comic book-like way, with more emphasis on humor and outlandishness than on anger. Tons of guns, gunfire, and gunshot victims. One main character uses martial arts to dispatch many bad guys in violent ways. We also get stun guns and pistol-whipping, plus missiles and bombs. Brief images of dog fighting and cage fighting. One character wears a razor sharp knife blade at the end of her long ponytail.


Viewers see a couple kissing, and it's suggested that they make love, though nothing is shown on screen. A man appears shirtless, and we see a woman asleep, lying on top of him. We also see sexy female dancers in a nightclub and a brief image of two girls kissing. A man disguises himself as a serving girl -- in a skimpy outfit -- to capture some bad guys. (The close-ups of his partly naked buttocks appear to belong to a female body double.)


The movie is in French. "Merde" is spoken several times, but the subtitles translate it both as "s--t" and "damn." We also hear "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Secondary characters are drug dealers. Drugs and drug paraphernalia are on display throughout the movie, including bags of pot and heroin and/or cocaine. Viewers see needles and drugs being smuggled inside watermelons. Some supporting characters are said to be on drugs. The bad guys plant bags of drugs in Damien's apartment and arrest him to keep him out of the way.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMovieMan26 October 11, 2010

Entertaining sequel is still adrenaline-feuled fun!

With plenty of action, suspense, and humor, this is a fun action film for all! I love that the two leads are the same as the first (that doesn't always hap... Continue reading
Parent of a 17-year-old Written bykeanufarias123 March 31, 2010
Love itt !!!!! looks like big hitt of 2010
Kid, 11 years old September 20, 2010

action filled french film with little plot

parents need to know that this has plenty of comic martial arts violence. The language is often mild and drugs are often shown but never glorified. The only pro... Continue reading

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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

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