In 2010 social problems such as violence, drugs and organized crime have overrun the poorer suburbs of Paris and especially Banlieue 13, commonly referred to as B13, a ghetto with a population of some two million. Unable to control B13 the authorities construct a high wall topped by barbed wire around the entire area forcing the inhabitants within to survive without education, proper utilities or police protection behind the containment wall. Police checkpoints stop anybody going in or out.
Three years later the area is now flooded with hard drugs such as heroin and completely controlled by gangsters. Certain blocks are ruled over by various individuals and one high rise apartment block is looked after by an athletic and street-wise man known as Leïto (David Belle). Leïto hates drugs and injustice and wages a one-man war against a neighboring gang lord named Taha Bemamud (Bibi Naceri) to keep his neighbourhood safe and free of drugs. Leïto captures 20 kg of cocaine from Taha, worth over a million euro, which incites Taha to send his thugs to recover the merchandise, led by the towering K2 (Tony D'Amario).
To retaliate, Taha kidnaps Leïto's younger sister Lola (Dany Verissimo) to use against him, but Leïto manages to invade Taha's base, rescue his sister, and kidnap Taha in turn.
The police release Taha and allow him to take Lola with him to avoid a confrontation. In addition, they put Leïto in a cell to contain the situation, but Leïto kills the police chief who's responsible for handing over Lola.
Upon the mission's completion, Damien immediately receives another assignment from his chief and also the Defence Secretary of France, Mr Krüger. He is told that Taha has stolen an experimental neutron bomb that is set to detonate in 24 hours. His mission is to convince Leïto, imprisoned for months, to lead him to Taha's base so that he can disarm the bomb. Damien attempts to pass himself off as a fellow prisoner and helps Leïto escape to B13, but Leïto sees through Damien's act and abandons him.
After fighting off some of the local thugs, Damien locates Leïto and admits the truth.
They team up to disarm the bomb and rescue Lola. The pair surrenders to Taha in order to gain access to his base.
There, they discover that Taha has rigged the warhead to a missile launcher, pointed towards the center of Paris and is prepared to blackmail the government with it. Taha demands a high ransom, which is refused by Damien's government contact.
The pair escape however, and while Taha's thugs pursue them, Taha discovers that the government has emptied all of his offshore accounts in the Bahamas and elsewhere. One of Taha's men asks how Taha will pay them. Frustrated, Taha tries to shoot the member who asked him that only to discover that his gun is empty. Taha offers money from a safe he possesses but knowing that with Tahas accounts emptied, there is no reason to endure his ruthlessness any longer, the thugs shoot and kill Taha.
Leïto and Damien fight their way to the tower building holding Lola and the bomb. They are confronted by their final obstacle: Yeti, a substantial henchman left by Taha to block their access to the bomb. Damien underestimates Yeti and tries attacking him, but is gradually overpowered. Leito helps out Damien and gains the upper hand with the henchman by tying him up with an electricity cord.
Having defeated Yeti, Damien calls his contact to receive the deactivation code, 9293709B13. Leïto recognizes the code as a reference to the bomb's location (92 and 93 are the two area codes of the departments that make up District 13), the day's date (7 September), and the district, B13.
The pair return to the government building with the bomb and use it to force Mr Krüger admit that he had planned to blow up B13 as a means to get rid of it. The confession is then revealed to have been filmed and is immediately broadcast by pirate television transmission across all channels. The pair's actions cause a major scandal that sparks public support for B13.
Soon the rest of the government promises to tear down the containment wall and bring back schools and police to B13. Leïto and Damien depart as friends, and Lola kisses Damien to encourage him to visit B13 in the future.
i remembered this movie did fascinate me back in 2004 when it first came out. time tu mana ada torrent ape seme kan, so access to the movie was limited. imagine, after 8 years have passed baru dapat tengok..
all in all, the movie is solid. the chemistry between the main protagonists are real, the cause of their fights genuine and it involves policy making by the Government on how to eradicate the neighbourhood filled with filth and thugs rotten to the core..
i mean, think about it, think about the fate of the innocents born into the b13-like neighbourhood. to deny their chance for a good life would be barbaric.. something that Leito tried to put across. but then, his belief that surrendering Taha to the cops would ultimately solve B13's problems is kind of immature and child-like even.
oh ya, this is one of the best parkour movies made. and David Belle playing Leito is said to be one of the founding fathers of such swift, elegant and nifty moves :)