Walker should not be remembered for awful ‘Brick Mansions’

The only noteworthy thing about “Brick Mansions” is it’s the last film Paul Walker finished before his untimely death last November.

 Otherwise, it’s a repugnant, stale action film with zero intellectual value that will only be the answer to a trivia question and a stain on what had been a nice career renaissance for the “Fast & Furious” star in the past few years, and something that should be avoided at all costs.

It’s a remake of the 2004 French cult hit “District 13,” which is only worth knowing because what passes for plot in “Brick Mansions” feels predictable and derivative. It’s set in a dystopian near-future version of Detroit, where uncontrollable inner-city crime causes the city government to construct a massive wall around that part of the city.

Walker plays a generic, honest cop who volunteers to infiltrate the walled district and disarm a massive bomb that a gang leader (played by Wu-Tang Clan disciple RZA) has somehow attached to an old Russian missile.

To the surprise of nobody, it turns out the bomb was planted by the city as a way to get rid of the inner-city problem once and for all. The film takes an unbelievable amount of time to come to this conclusion, which leads to an incredibly jarring shift in tone in the final 15 minutes, as the audience realizes they are supposed to sympathize with the gangs.

 The previous 90 minutes are nothing but Walker and his French buddy (David Belle) taking out scores of stereotypical gang members (more on that later), which is apparently forgiven as soon as they recognized the true villains.

None of the action is particularly memorable, but it’s far from the worst of “Brick Mansions.” Belle is famous for his Parkour stunt work, having co-starred in the impressive original film and its 2009 sequel, and.

However, the film is shot and edited with all the loving grace of a bad music video, so watching Bell actually jump around on rooftops isn’t as fun as it should be.

By far the worst part of “Brick Mansions” is its depiction of the impoverished citizens on the bad side of the wall. I’m not an authority on race issues in America, but it’s impossible not to notice every non-white character in the movie fits into an embarrassing cultural stereotype.

The dialogue and costume design of the black gang members in particular feel like they were crafted by someone who considered themself an expert about gang culture after they watched half of an N.W.A. music video 20 years ago. The very premise of the film, a white cop infiltrating the inner city and killing roving bands of stereotypical non-white gang members, is pretty disgusting in and of itself. It’s sensationalist, rancid garbage.

“Garbage” is really the only way to describe “Brick Mansions.” If Paul Walker were still alive, this would just be another generic action movie and we would forget about it after opening weekend.

As it stands, the film might get a little bit of undeserved box office interest just because it’s his final finished product.

Anyone who wants to see Walker one last time should just wait until next year’s “Fast & Furious 7,” which will surely be just as ridiculous and fun as the rest of that series.

 Just do whatever you can to stay away from “Brick Mansions.”