Freedom in Film: “District B-13”
District B-13 is not an alien movie like District 9. Instead it is a 2004 French Film which reminds us that any government today against its own citizens just like the Nazis perpetrated agaisnt the Jews during WWII.
I give District B-13 ”3.5 beacons of Liberty out of five”. It has a great message about the evil that government will perpetrate against its own people. And that by exposing the dastardly plans of the politicians lives can be saved.
District B-13 is the name of the inner city slum near Paris that has been walled off by the French Government. It is an inner city war zone, where the drug dealers have taken over and all government presence has fled including the police. The innocent civilians are left in there with the drug dealers to fend for themselves.
One Resident Leito, played by one of the founders of Parkour, is a vigilante defending his building in District B-13 against Taha the local drug kingpin. The movie starts with Leito flushing down 2o kilos of Taha’s coke. Needless to say Taha doesn’t take too kindly to the destruction of his property and kidnaps Leito’s sister in retaliation.
Using awesome Parkour moves Leito infiltrates Taha’s lair, rescues his sister and escapes with Taha’s men in hot pursuit. Leito and his sister make it to the police station in the wall separating B-13 from the rest of Paris. There they hope to have the cops arrest Taha. But instead the cop in charge arrests Leito and allows Taha to take his sister back into District B-13.
Now fast forward six months later. Our hero is still in jail but guess what the Government now needs him to lead an undercover cop back into to District B-13 to retrieve a stolen neutron bomb. Capt Damien and undercover cop is ordered by Kruger the Secretary of Defense to pose as a fellow prisoner, gain Leito’s trust, break him out of a prison van and convince him guide him to the bomb inside of District B-13. Now whenever there is a bomb in the movie you know there is a countdown too. Damien only has twenty-four hours to find the him find the Neutron Bomb before it blows.
Leito is reluctant to help find the bomb at first because all he wants to do is find his sister. But after some cool fight scenes against Taha’s men he decides to help Damien find the bomb. They actually give themselves up so they have access to Taha’s lair. Inside they begin to negotiate with Taha so they can disarm the bomb. But Taha wants 20 million dollars or he will take the Bomb into Paris and leave it to go off. So Damien calls Kruger to wire the money to Taha’s account. Kruger tells him no deal.
Damien pretends the wire has gone through. This gives Damien and Leito time to escape to go and disarm the bomb before Taha realizes the rouse. Taha is hoisted on his own petard when his men turn on him. They kill him after his accountant announces that the government used the information he provided for the wire that never happened, allowed the government to wipe out all his bank accounts. His second in command and the rest of his crew fill him full of holes.
Leito and Damien are stopped by Taha’s second in command in front of the building that has the bomb on the roof. But he lets them go inside. In order to get to the elevator they must fight a huge guy named Yeti. It’s a well choreographed fight scene where they work together to defeat the bigger man. Leito and Damien then scale the exterior of an exposed elevator shaft to the top of the building. On the roof is the bomb and Leito’s sister. She has tipped over a gas can and is about to light the pool of gas under the rocket with the Neutron Bomb on it when Leito grabs the match out of her hand.
Now the ending of this film puts a cool twist on the old “disarm the bomb” before the counter hits zero cliché. (spoiler alert). This is the best part of the film Instead of the movie ending with Damien heroically entering the code as the timer strikes zero the filmmakers put a new twist on the cliché “bomb disposing scene”. The heroes actually fight each other as the timer ticks down.
When they reach the bomb it is rapidly ticking down… and Damien calls Kruger for the disarm code. The Secretary of Defense confirms that the bomb is still inside District B-13 before he gives the code to Damien. As Damien is entering the code onto the warhead’s key pad, Leito grows suspicious.The code is made up of the area codes for District B-13, the next set of numbers are the date and final part of the code is B13.
Leito tries to tell Damien that the code is not to disarm the bomb but to detonate it. He tells him the bomb was not stolen. Earlier in Taha’s warehouse they saw the transport van the neutron bomb had been in when it was stolen and there were no signs of forced entry. It was allowed to be stolen.
Leito tells him that they bomb is meant to level District B-13. Damien being a guardian of the State can’t believe it.
“They would not kill 2 million people.”
Leito in return utters the best line in the movie when he tells him that
“6 million people were killed for not having blonde hair and blue eyes.”
Damien still doesn’t believe him and a cool fight ensues where Leito is trying to keep Damien from entering the code on the bomb’s keypad. The timer continues to tick down. And with only seconds left Damien gets free, he charges for the key pad on the warhead and is about to put in the last of the code when Leito’s sister grabs him from behind and they both fall to the ground. All three watch as the timer hits zero. But there is no explosion; Leito was right.
The code was the detonation code. Leito and Damien take the warhead to the office of Kruger the Secretary of Defense who planned the mission and they set the neutron bomb on his desk. Damien uses the bomb to get Krueger to confess to his murderous plan.
Kruger “District B-13 is out of control. The taxpayer’s are scared and sick of paying for it”. “It’s Undemocratic but solves the Problem.”
Damien “Not for you”. He puts in the last of the code but it doesn’t go off. (He must have disarmed it earlier the film isn’t clear on that.)
Damien ” Violence isn’t the only way to solve problems. There are democratic ways.”
He then he points out the window to a t.v. crew filming and that recorded and broadcasted his confession to all the t.v. channels. So in the end the Government official gets his due.
During the resolution Damien tells Leito at the resolution of the film that the wall will come down on Monday. Leito’s is still skeptical but Damien assures him that he will make sure they keep their word. (Have you ever met a politician who did?
Overall a fun moving with lots of free running, hand to hand fights, some gun play and a lot of cool stunts.
I didn’t give District B-13 a higher rating than “3.5 Beacons of Liberty out of 5″ because the filmmakers fail to grasp the inherent Collectivist Nature of “Democracy”.
The filmmakers put their faith in “Democracy” instead of individual Liberty. They do a great job showing the violent nature of the state but fail to realize that it was the “Democratic Process” which caused the walling off of the slums in the first place. If it weren’t for Drug Prohibition the gangs would not have any funding. If it was not for Public Schools the children would have places to learn because of the Spontaneous Order of the Free Market. When individuals forget that they and everyone else have a God-given Right to their Life, Liberty and Property the Government becomes and instrument of plunder and murder.
That is the main fault I find with the Film as far as the freedom angle is concerned. I liked how they portrayed the callousness of the politician towards the 2 million people walled inside of District B-13 and how the State was willing to sacrifice one of their “Loyal Servants”, Damien, in order to carry out their dastardly plan. The walling off of District B-13 is an illusion to the “walling off of the ghettos” of Warsaw by the Nazis in the 40′s. There the Nazis killed tens of thousands of Jews, used the ghetto as a staging point for the deportation of thousands more to the gas chambers, and eventually razed it to the ground when some of the Jewish prisoners revolted against the Nazi murderers. This is what the filmmakers remind us of when the politicians are willing to “raze” District B-13 to the ground to solve their “problem”.
It amazes me how easily human beings forget the terrible things politicians, bureaucrats, police and soldiers have done in the past and how easily they now swallow the tripe of the current political class who prattle on about how their plans will create a utopia on Earth . The politicians today convince the people that their brand of ”collectivism” will work becuase they are the one’s at the helm. But all the Socialist, Fascist, Communists Schemes are all based upon the same ideology of Collectivism. That ideology is not based upon the Natural Rights of Individuals but on the whim and brute force of the Majority. Kruger, the Defense Secretary, is willing to kill two million people who are deemed undesirable so the rest of the “socialistic” system of France can continue on. That is the definition of “Democracy”.
This is the same mentality that led to the 170 million citizens of collectivists countries being slaughtered by their own governments last century.
The film also highlights how government intervention as Mises wrote never accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish. And that every government intervention instead of solving the original problem creates more problems and leads to more and more intervention. The final government intervention in the lives of the residents of District B-13 is to wipe them off the face of the Earth. Central Planners can’t plan their own lives let alone anyone elses. When they try they have to use force to make people conform to their plans. And when people fail to conform to their plans they kill them. All government action rests upon the threat or use of force.
Overall the film was very enjoyable. It reminded me a lot of a French Jackie Chan movie. If you like Parkour, a.k.a Free Running, you’ll love this movie because there is a ton of it, the actor playing Leito is one of the founders of Parkour and the actor playing Damien is an accomplished Free Runner as well. The pacing of the film is great, there is never a slow spot with plenty of action and cool stunts and a great twist ending I would defnitely recommend this film, to those who love action movies and love Liberty.
If you are looking for a fun action film that reminds you that the your government today can kill millions of individuals just like the Nazis killed during WWII, then check out “District B-13″ which I give “3.5 Beacons of Liberty out of Five”.