Monday, April 03, 2006

Full Scene From Banlieue 13 And Casino Royale Action Chatter

Jump London was the big breakthrough moment for parkour in the British pop culture, a truly dreadful attempt at capturing the energy of "free running", the (originally) French art of running, jumping and never standing still. Director Mike Christie insisted on choppily editing the flow of action, denying us the single pleasure parkour offers in spades - a grace and flexibility of human agility. He tried to look clever, foregrounded his own tricksiness with the camera and cutting over the agility on display, and ended up doing what his athletic subjects so rarely did: he fell flat on his face. A year or so later, he made the same mistakes on a slightly bigger scale with Jump Britain.

Had the man never seen a film directed by Jackie Chan? The techniques were all there for the taking.

Now, the first parkour-based feature film is coming to English speaking territories. Banlieue 13 was co-written by Luc Besson and directed by Pierre Morel, and as you'll see from the video excerpt lurking at the bottom of this post, is full of outrageous parkour bounciness.

The film is already available on DVD in many countries, but bear in mind that, so far, only the Thai release has English subtitles.

Better still (?), the new Bond, Casino Royale, features a good chunk of parkour too. Sebastien Foucan, one of the hobby's originators (and arguably its finest practitioner) is reportedly playing a character called Mollaka, a "terrorist" who gives Daniel Craig the run-around in a crumbling shanty town and conveniently located construction-site-come-parkour-playground. As I understand it, this much-praised and highly sprightly sequence opens the film. I hope that Martin Campbell isn't having his Bond peak too soon again.

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