Movies: Fun, French and Bloody

District B13 is that sublime action film that doesn't waste time talking when it could be fighting

Let's put the matter simply: The French thriller District B13 makes everything Hollywood has lately done in the action genre look clumsy, dull and stale. It is a short, nonstop stuntfest that, by going back to basics and placing them on the screen with simple, breathless stylishness, turns what is essentially a lowlife movie form into something one is not embarrassed to call "pure" cinema--all energy, movement and high kinetic wit.

There's a plot of sorts: the time is a few years hence, and the public-housing ghettos, petri dishes for the car-burning riots that traumatized Paris last fall, have been turned...

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