Screen capture from 'Brick Mansions'
When is Detroit not Detroit?
OK, last night, just looking over Netflix and seeing what junk we could screen to warm up the old living room on a frigid Friday night, we found a lot of really dumb stuff. It was a toss-up between the movie about Nazi zombies and Brick Mansions
, released last year (and reviewed in MT
), an action movie set in Detroit in the far-off year of 2018.
Yeah, that's gonna be a go. The first third of the film gave me the eerie feeling I'd seen this before, the setup involving a walled-off ghetto in which a vigilante fights drug-dealing gangs (including a kingpin played by RZA) with lots of Parkour moves, at least until a super cop (played by that bland white dude from the "Fast and Furious" movies) is sent in to neutralize a neutron bomb that was smuggled into the city and teams up with the strangely familiar-looking guy, who for some reason has a French accent and looks about as Detroit as Jean Reno
. My guesses just started getting too good as to what was going to happen next, and when the crooked cop arrested the vigilante and not the hoods, I realized my déjà vu was due to the fact I'd seen this all before.
A little pause action and Internet searching confirmed it: This was a remake of District 13
, the film that practically introduced Parkour 11 years ago.
So what do you do when you realize you already know the whole story to the movie? You just watch it. But it's kind of fun to watch the way out-of-town filmmakers misunderstand Detroit, misrepresent Detroit, and just plain get the city wrong. When journalists do it, it's upsetting, but when moviemakers do it, it's comedy. (Such as one over-the-top shot of the Packard Plant that swings above it to reveal the title of the film! Is that what they're doing in there?)
Worst gaffe would be zooming out from Detroit only to find that Detroit is apparently in the heart of Chicago. Second worst would be showing a mass of postwar public housing high-rises where that burgeoning "Midtown" area should be.
As for the mayor who wants to blow up a ghetto with a neutron bomb so it can be redeveloped, that's just ridiculous. Who needs neutron bombs when you have the city's powerful speculators flattening whole areas the old-fashioned way?
Anyway, if you have approximately 87 minutes to waste on an utterly silly film, at least one without Nazi zombies. see if Brick Mansions
is streaming on Netflix in your area.