Brian O’Conner vs. The RZA – Brick Mansions (2014)

May not be the Swan song that you want for Paul Walker, but it is what it is.  So in dystopian Detroit, an undercover cop (Walker) has to team up with an ex-convict (David Belle) to take down a drug lord (the RZA) before he blows up the city.  There is one reason and one reason alone this movie got any attention: the death of Paul Walker.  I would not have been surprised if this got released direct-to-video otherwise, but given the circumstances, it got a wide release.

WalkerIt is sad when any young actor passes, even if they don’t have an impressive body of work.

Looking back on Walker’s library, I was surprised at how few of his movies I’ve actually seen; of his 29 credited big screen roles, I’ve seen all six Fast & Furious movies (and he is, for all intents and purposes, playing Brian O’Conner here), Takers and Joy Ride, and that’s pretty much it.  This is a lot like Takers: low-grade, a couple of cool scenes involving Parkour and not very intelligent.  It’s a remake of a French movie that I haven’t seen, District B13, but I imagine that is most likely more competently made.  However, I do have something that I can compare this to: The Raid 2.  Brick Mansions is nothing special because I just saw Gareth Evans do exactly everything that this is trying to do, except it is exponentially better in Evans’ capable hands.

raid2I never said “OOOOOH” watching Brick Mansions like I did 75 times while watching The Raid 2.

This moves fast enough so it holds your attention, but one thing that I think drags this down quite a bit is the acting of the RZA.  This is a role where you can chew scenery, steal scenes and just go wild with being as menacing and evil as possible, and the only thing he really does with it is stoically cook some food; at least Paul Walker is going out on a movie where his acting looks great by comparison.  This is Detroit a couple of years before they break down and build RoboCop, and from an action movie standpoint, you can turn off your brain and kill 90 minutes, but you will have to overlook a number of flaws dealing with physics and logic.

Brick Mansions (2014) **1/2

– Critic for Hire


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