The late Paul Walker rocketed to fame in the action sequels “The Fast and the Furious”, beginning in 2001, so I know he had quite a fan base in kids and young adults as well as his older followers. Though I never saw any of those films, I started checking out some of his other movies and liked the open, good-looking, personable actor. I hated that I had only discovered him after his death. He was very down-to-earth and “human” in his acting and might have been given better roles in the future.
One such choice included “Brick Mansions”, starring Walker as under-cover cop Damien Collier in a dystopian Detroit. I like action movies and chose this one because it had a PG rating, thinking it couldn’t go too far off the charts in the requisite language, sex, and violence that get thrown into such films with a heavy hand.
That’s when I found that all PG ratings are not created equal. “Brick Mansions” skated so close on the thin ice of PG that an R-rating lurked just a millimeter below the surface. This is not a movie for kids and young teens, no matter what the rating says. Heavily suggestive scenes, stopped just short, made me flinch; the f-bomb was not used liberally, but it was there; the MF-bomb was so close to being said outright that it left a breath-trail like the misty tail of a comet.
The gymnastic quality of the fight scenes saved the movie from being just another darkly futuristic film with a cheesy and totally unlikely ending. This can be attributed to David Belle, the French actor who played Lino Dupree, Walker’s hostile inside man in the Brick Mansion slums, which are literally walled off from outside society.
David Belle’s claim to fame is the discipline known as “Parkour”, gymnastic movements whose purpose is to get from “point A to point B in the most efficient way possible . . . using only the human body.” (Wikipedia). It was a pleasure to watch Paul Walker and David Belle in action. In any other movie they would have propped up the plot to at least tissue paper thickness. But “Brick Mansions” collapsed under too many bricks out of sync. Walker and Belle are just thrown at the script and told to go into a hostile — not to mention lethal — situation without any plan whatsoever. Just jump in the deep water and the movie-makers ensure their survival in spite of totally unbelievable stupidity.
So the only thing I can recommend here is the delightful pairing of Walker and Belle and absolutely nothing else. And it is no way, no how, a PG.