The trailer for Brick Mansions was released last week and it’s taken me this long to figure out how to get all my thoughts about it on the page.
Brick Mansions is the American remake of the French film Banlieue 13, or to give it the English title District 13. Now Balieue 13 is not only my favourite foreign film but it is one of my favourite films ever and will probably always be in my top 10. So all those years ago when I first heard they were going to do a remake I was annoyed but at the same time I like to be hopeful, thinking that it’ll bring more people to the original. The biggest plus that the American version had for it when I first heard about it was that David Belle was going to reprise his role – I did read somewhere that Luc Besson would only allow there to be a remake if Belle was in the American version (but now can’t find that information).
Now the trailers out and it’s given me a lot to think about and a lot of different emotions. For one, Brick Mansions is Paul Walker’s final complete film. His death really upset me (way more than I ever thought it would) so I now have mixed feelings about him staring in a remake of a film I love. I think it’ll be interesting to see if he has as good chemistry with David Belle as Belle did in the original with Cyril Raffaelli.
Then there’s the fact that the remake appears to have lifted complete scenes from the original. Now I know (obviously) that’s what remakes do but it was still a bit of a surprise watching the trailer and being like, I’ve seen this exact version but in French.
My biggest pet peeve about this film so far is that in Brick Mansions they’ve changed the character of Lola from being Leito’s sister to his girlfriend. I hate needless romances being shoved into a movie and Dany Verissimo-Petit as Lola in Banlieue 13 was awesome and I just liked seeing a brother/sister relationship being played out on the big screen.
With all that said I have no doubt in my mind that when Brick Mansions is released in the UK I will be going to the cinema to see it. I might be quietly seething in the corner, but I hope I end up liking it. It’s like book to movie adaptations, you’ve got to be able to separate the original from the remake and find ways to enjoy both of them.