Not quite a perfect swansong
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Not quite a perfect swansong

Paul Walker in Brick Mansions.

Paul Walker in Brick Mansions.

Brick Mansions
Director: Camille Delamarre
Starring: Paul Walker, David Belle, RZA
90 mins; Class 15; KRS

Paul Walker’s life was very tragically cut short in the horrific car crash which claimed both his life and that of friend and financial adviser Roger Rodas last November.

Walker’s blonde-haired, blue-eyed good looks landed him roles in both dramas and romantic comedies. This was before he cemented his international status as an action star with the hugely successful Fast and Furious franchise, which spawned six films in all from 2001, with a seventh in production at the time of his death.

His last completed film was Brick Mansions, an action thriller set in Detroit in 2018. The brick mansions of the title form part of a derelict and dangerous housing project that exists behind a heavily-guarded wall.

There, the city’s most dangerous criminals are seemingly allowed to live their lawless, violent, drug-addicted lives. The corrupt and amoral drug kingpin Tremaine (RZA) rules the roost in Brick Mansions and local hero Lino (David Belle) is the lone resident who tries to bring him down.

Lino’s attempts fail, but it is only when he teams up with undercover cop Damien Collier (Walker) that they have a chance to remove Tremaine and clean up the area for good.

The film is characterised by a dull plot, uninspiring acting and thinly-sketched characters.

The movie opens with a meeting of politicos and construction magnates (never a good combination) discussing the future of Detroit as they stare lovingly at a model of a stunning, high-end residential and commercial development. The idea is for this development to replace Brick Mansions and it is clear from that moment how this will pan out.

The film is characterised by a dull plot

In the meantime, back at the mansions, armies of threatening men in enough bling to stock 100 jewellery stores wield all sorts of weapons. The only women in the film are Lola (Catalina Denis) and Aylia Issa as Rayza.

The film perks up in a couple of parkour scenes, a discipline which co-star Belle actually founded.

But these moments are few and far between, and overall the one-note performance lets him down badly in the acting stakes. There is some banter between Walker’s character and Belle’s, but not enough to make the relationship interesting.

The Fast and Furious franchise may be ridiculous, but its colourful cast of characters, Walker included, was one of the reasons it endured for so long.

Walker had filmed a few scenes of the 7th instalment, which will be enhanced by CG and some work contributed by his brother. Hopefully, that will be much better send-off for this charismatic actor once the film is released in 2015.

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