Saturday 10 April 2010

Films - Eagle Eye, and District 13: Ultimatum

Two very different near-future thrillers with SF elements.

Eagle Eye is a 2008 mystery thriller set in the USA. It concerns a young man and a young mother who are coerced into assisting a mysterious and apparently all-powerful organisation which is able to monitor them by tapping into nearby CCTV, communicate with them by ringing any phone in their vicinity plus altering electronic message boards and video displays they pass, and can also assist their progress (or threaten them) by switching traffic lights and taking over remote-controlled machinery.

The pair are soon on the run from the authorities while desperately following a string of instructions with no obvious purpose, until the threads gradually come together to reveal a deadly threat to the US government. It is the nature of this threat which puts the film into the SF bracket (although it may also be described as a "techno-thriller"). Lightweight entertainment, but not bad.

I enjoyed the original District 13 - a 2004 French film set in Paris. The social problems caused by an undesirable banlieue, or district, had been "solved" by walling it off, creating a lawless environment within it. An action-man supercop joined forces with an athletic resident to resolve the threat of a nuclear bomb being exploded in the District. Much entertaining action followed, focusing on the parkour (free-running) exploits of the heroes racing around the rooftops.

The sequel, District 13: Ultimatum, features the same pair of heroes trying to stop a dastardly plan to demolish much of the District so that a major construction company can make a vast fortune redeveloping it for the middle classes. We first see the supercop passing as a (female) prostitute in order to infiltrate a drug-dealing nightclub. At the same time, a secret arm of the government security forces is setting up an incident designed to provoke riots within the District, giving its corrupt leaders, bribed by the construction company, the excuse to clear the area ready for demolition. Only the heroes can stop this from happening, but one of them is soon in prison and the other is on the run.

The action is just as entertaining as before, the combat scenes just as improbable. The violence is tongue-in-cheek; there is hardly any visible blood and very few deaths despite the constant mayhem. What lifts this above the usual is its mischievous sense of humour, providing lots of laugh-out-loud moments. I particularly enjoyed the attempt to escape from a building by car, which resulted in it being driven up into, around and down out of, the first floor (don't ask) before being driven off. And the name of the corrupt construction company? Harriburton!

Apart from the humour there is a very French sense of nonchalant style about these films. Very much not Hollywood, and very enjoyable in a light-hearted way. The film is subtitled which may put off some viewers, but I found that once the action got underway I barely noticed.

1 comment:


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Hi Anthony,

On behalf of Magnolia Pictures and the movie’s producers, many thanks for plugging "District 13: Ultimatum" ... .. thanks also, on behalf of the distributors and producers, for not posting any pirate copies or non-trailer clips of “District 13: Ultimatum” and if you / your readers want good quality, non-pirated, previews, then the official trailer for “District 13: Ultimatum” is available for fans and bloggers to post / host / share etc at ... for further details of on-line promotions for this movie and Magnolia releases generally, check-out and their official YouTube channel at

Thanks again for your plug.