They call it "parkour," a way of running, jumping and swinging through the urban jungle that combines the skills of a gymnast, an acrobat, a break dancer, an aerialist and a stuntman. And there's a lot of it on display in District B13, an action-traction French film set in the suburbs of Paris. Yes, those suburbs, and because it's 2010, things have gotten even worse. They're now run by drug kingpins who'd just as soon shoot you as to look at you, and the government has built a wall around the worst of them, locking the prisoners inside and preparing to throw away the key. But first a pair of traceurs Ã?' think Spider-Man, only without the webbing Ã?' have an impossible mission to accomplish: Find, confiscate and defuse a WMD that's fallen into the wrong hands.
Okay, the story's kind of comme ci, comme Ã?a. And the dialogue's in French, which renders the tough-guy banter a little amusant. But District B13 has more juice flowing through its veins than all the summer blockbusters put together. And it appears to have gotten the job done without using wires or CGI. David Belle, who helped invent parkour back in the '80s, does a credible job of playing a vigilante who knows the cops are as bad as the cons. And Cyril Raffaelli is equally fine as an undercover cop who still believes in the rule of law. But when these two take flight Ã?' jumping off roofs, hanging from balconies, swooping through windows Ã?' the movie itself soars. And you're suddenly reminded how pleasurable it is to watch graceful people move on camera.