MRR Review: "Brick Mansions"

Photo Credit: Relativity Media

Rating: PG-13
Length: 90 minutes
Release Date: April 25, 2014
Directed by: Camille Delamarre
Genre: Action / Crime / Drama

"Brick Mansions" stars Paul Walker as an undercover cop tasked with taking down the city's most dangerous criminal. When a drug lord who operates out of Detroit's brick mansions threatens to destroy the whole city, Walker's character must find a way to infiltrate the building. However, when he teams up with a career criminal, the entire mission is compromised.

Plot Summary

Set in 2018 in a dystopian Detroit, "Brick Mansions" opens with a suspenseful scene showing a man's harrowing escape from one of the city's brick mansions that houses the city's toughest criminals. Since there is a barricade surrounding the building so no one gets in or out, the man runs into many obstacles before finally breaking free. The next scenes show the residents of a brick mansion setting up a missile on the rooftop of the building. City officials are soon contacted, and the residents of the brick mansion demand $30 million or they will launch the missile into the city center.

Undercover cop Damien Collier is soon called in and given orders to infiltrate the building and disarm the missile. Damien nearly refuses the assignment when he is partnered with Lino, a convicted criminal and the man who escaped the brick mansion in the opening scenes. However, both men have personal motivations for entering the brick mansion, which allow them to find common ground. Damien is driven by his need to get revenge for his father's murder. The man responsible for his death is housed in the brick mansion and also happens to be responsible for the abduction of Lino's girlfriend. When the men arrive at the building, they face off against the building's residents who use a variety of methods and weapons in an effort to protect their home. With time running out, Damien and Lino come up with a daring plan to get revenge and save the city.


"Brick Mansions" stars Paul Walker as Damien. His extensive experience performing technical stunts in the "Fast and Furious" film franchise is evident in his performance in the film. Likewise, David Belle, who plays Lino, flawlessly performs a variety of stunts. Belle, the co-founder of Parkour, a physical training and stunt technique, utilized his expertise by directing several of the fight scenes in the film. The use of Parkour livens up the stunt work and makes the film unique from other action films.

In addition to an impressive physical performance, Walker and Belle provide solid acting performances. Both men create contrasting and often conflicting characters who are driven by the same need for revenge. The cast of main characters is rounded out by RZA, who plays Tremaine Alexander, the unofficial leader of the brick mansion. The film also features a large supporting cast that provides convincing portrayals of the dangerous and violent residents of the brick mansion.

Plot Construction

"Brick Mansions" is a remake of the French action movies "District 13" and "District 13: Ultimatum." However, "Brick Mansions" sets itself apart from these films by giving the characters personal motivations for saving the city. In the original films, the focus was more on saving innocent victims. In "Brick Mansions," the personal vendettas make the plot far more exciting.

The plot is also very unique from the majority of mainstream action films. The existence of a walled-in group of buildings housing the city's worst criminals initially highlights the differences between the good guys and the bad guys. However, as the plot develops, it becomes clear that both sides are not what they appear to be. For example, the corrupt political leaders who force the residents into the buildings and exclude them from society give the residents of the brick mansions plenty of reasons to threaten harm to the city. Likewise, the building's residents are more than career criminals. Deep emotions drive the toughest criminals to protect their families and the place they call home. Essentially, "Brick Mansions" shows the good guys as extremely flawed and gives the bad guys redeeming qualities. This element makes the film very character-driven and balances out the many violence-filled scenes.

Film Quality

The variety of action featured in "Brick Mansions" makes the film extremely entertaining to watch. There are high-speed car chases, explosions, gun fights, missile launches, hand-to-hand combat and group fights. Walker and Belle jump out of windows and off rooftops and race around the maze of the building's many units to track down their enemy. Special effects that speed up the action sequences make the on-screen action even more impressive. Ultimately, "Brick Mansions" has more than enough action to keep an audience on the edge of its seats for all of the film's 90 minutes.

"Brick Mansions" has everything any great action film must have. It has a unique plot, compelling acting and superior special effects. With highly technical and impressive action sequences from start to finish, "Brick Mansions" is a must-see film.