Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says Iffy for 15+
Over-the-top French action entertains despite big violence.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that District 13: Ultimatum is a violent comic book-style movie intended to inspire laughter and applause rather than anger and tension. But it's still filled with guns, drugs, and other violent images, mainly as an attempt to depict the crime-ridden, walled-off slum neighborhoods of a futuristic Paris. A sequel to the French film District B13 (2004), the movie is presented in French with English subtitles -- including translations of some swearing. Despite all the violent imagery, the two heroes generally act selflessly and for the good of others, and their martial arts skills are very impressive. Mature teens can probably handle it.
- Families can talk about the movi's action and violence. How does watching the martial arts and parkour make you feel -- energized, inspired, repulsed, discouraged? Do you think watching this kind of movie inspires teens and adults to try some of the action or violence in real life?
- Talk about the concept of the walled-in neighborhoods. In
the future, Paris has separated and sealed off crime-ridden
neighborhoods from the rest of the city. What are the effects of this
act? Is it a good or bad idea? Do you see any similarities to neighborhoods today?
- The bad guy is affiliated with a company called "Harriburton." How is this intended to mirror real life events?
The good stuff
Positive messages: Although you can find some positive messages if you look for them -- such as the heroes' attempt to act for the good of others and the emphasis on enemies learning to set aside their differences and join
forces for a greater good -- the constant violence and drug content tend to complicate the message. Also, the movie has a strong political slant: The main villain works for a company called "Harriburton" and plans to blow up the slums so that he can build new buildings and profit handsomely. But the president firmly believes in the French motto "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" and tries to base his decisions around the needs of the poor.
Positive role models: With their unorthodox and sometimes violent methods, the heroes, along with the cast of criminals-turned-crimefighters, are complicated role models. Despite their opposing approaches, working class hero Leito and cop Damien set aside their differences to work together. They struggle hard to restore justice and fairness to the world. Likewise, they're both exceptional martial artists with determination and a clear dedication to training.
What to watch for
Violence: Plenty of action, fighting, and chasing, all presented in a broad, comic book-like way, with more emphasis on humor and outlandishness than on anger. Tons of guns, gunfire, and gunshot victims. One main character uses martial arts to dispatch many bad guys in violent ways. We also get stun guns and pistol-whipping, plus missiles and bombs. Brief images of dog fighting and cage fighting. One character wears a razor sharp knife blade at the end of her long ponytail.
Sexy stuff: Viewers see a couple kissing, and it's suggested that they make love, though nothing is shown on screen. A man appears shirtless, and we see a woman asleep, lying on top of him. We also see sexy female dancers in a nightclub and a brief image of two girls kissing. A man disguises himself as a serving girl -- in a skimpy outfit -- to capture some bad guys. (The close-ups of his partly naked buttocks appear to belong to a female body double.)
Language: The movie is in French. "Merde" is spoken several times, but the subtitles translate it both as "s--t" and "damn." We also hear "hell."
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Secondary characters are drug dealers. Drugs and drug paraphernalia are on display throughout the movie, including bags of pot and heroin and/or cocaine. Viewers see needles and drugs being smuggled inside watermelons. Some supporting characters are said to be on drugs. The bad guys plant bags of drugs in Damien's apartment and arrest him to keep him out of the way.