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-   -   District 13: Ultimatum (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/187-official-avs-foruma-blu-ray-disc-reviews/1243870-district-13-ultimatum-blu-ray-official-avsforum-review.html)

Ralph Potts 04-19-2010 12:00 PM

The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Magnolia - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 101 minutes
Genre: Action

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English/French DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: David Belle, Cyril Raffaelli, Elodie Yung, Daniel Duval, Philippe Torreton
Directed by: Patrick Alessandrin
Music by: DA. Octopusss & Track Invaders
Written by: Luc Besson
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 27, 2010

"Round 2Ding!"

Film Synopsis:

Two years have passed since elite police officer Damien Tomasso teamed up with reformed vigilante Leito to save the notorious District 13, a racially charged ghetto populated by violent drug dealing gangs and vicious killers. A group of corrupt cops and elected officials begin conspiring to have the district redeveloped by destructive means - a proposed nuclear air-strike. Damian and Leito must join forces again.

My Take:


Two years have passed since elite police officer Damien Tomasso (Cyril Raffaelli) teamed up with reformed vigilante Leito (Parkour originator David Belle) to save the notorious District 13, a racially charged ghetto populated by violent drug dealing gangs and vicious killers. Despite government promises to maintain order, the state of the district has deteriorated, and a group of corrupt cops and elected officials are conspiring to cause civil unrest in D13, looking for an excuse to raze the area and cash in on its redevelopment. Now Damian and Leito must join forces again, and use their mastery of martial arts and their unique physical skills to bring peace to the neighborhood by any means necessary before a proposed nuclear air-strike wipes it off the map.

I haven't seen the first film but everything that I have read suggests that it is well thought of. I tend to enjoy good mindless action films which is the category I think that District 13: Ultimatum falls into. The premise is singular, straight forward and homogenous while attempting to preach a little about politics. Ultimately the goal is to showcase the talents of stars Cyril Raffaelli and David Belle which is where the film excels. There is plenty of death defying stunts, martial artistry, and awe inspiring parkour from David Belle. I was unaware that Belle founded parkour but watching his mastery of it is incredibly entertaining. Cyril Raffaelli is no less engaging to watch as he seems to combine parkour (to a lesser degree) with martial arts expertise. The film's opening sequence which involves him fighting his way through a bevy of combatants while holding a priceless Van Goh painting is quite impressive. An intermediate storyline combined with solid action and thrilling stuntwork makes District 13: Ultimatum a decent popcorn flick that is worth checking out.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for some violence, language, and drug material.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 88

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Video: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

District 13: Ultimatum comes to Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia HE featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.6 mbps.

This video presentation has a filmic quality that doesn't always lend itself to razor sharp images however resolution is excellent as both people and objects are rendered with clear definition that at times is meticulously resolved. The color palette isn't a diverse one and sticks mainly to sepia and de-saturated neutral tones that render a cooler appearance. Flesh tones are on the bland side but fit right in with the visual style of the video. Contrast is bold which adds dynamic emphasis to sequences containing bright elements. Blacks are dynamic, inky and slightly crushed. Scenes containing uneven and/or dim lighting reveal discernible but occasionally limited detail in shadowy backgrounds and darkened areas. These segments don't have the dimensional perspective of the brighter scenes and tend to appear flat by comparison. Images have a pristine quality that when coupled with the video's high resolution makes for terrific looking presentation.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix which comes in both English dubbed and French versions does a nice job rendering the film's soundtrack. Dialogue has excellent intonation and clarity which allows even subtle changes in vocal pitch to be appreciable. This is a well balanced audio presentation that quite often engages the entire system. Dynamic range is excellent and the soundstage has an open expression that allows its elements to extend well into the room. Discrete rear channel activity isn't extensive however the action based elements provide an enriching level of immersion which is generated by a seamless sound field. The chase and extended fight sequences are empowered by near field sound effects, robust dynamics and thumping techno rhythms that energize the room. The LFE channel is frequently active and reproduces the film's music and extended lower bass frequencies with visceral impact that has excellent tactility.

** CIH users should make note that the subtitles appear WITHIN the picture area.

Bonus Features:

  • Making of District 13: Ultimatum - 26 minutes

  • Production diary - 34 minutes

  • Music video - Determine by Alonzo

  • 9 deleted/extended scenes

  • (HD) HDNET: A look at District 13: Ultimatum - 4 minutes

Final Thoughts:

District 13: Ultimatum is the follow up to 2006's District B13. The plot is a little different but the premise remains the same as elite police officer Damien Tomasso and reformed vigilante Leito team up once again to save the notorious District 13 from annihilation. It combines an intermediate storyline with solid action and thrilling stunts which result in a decent popcorn flick that is worth checking out when you're in the mood. Magnolia HE has impressed me with the quality of their high definition offerings on Blu-ray Disc and this release is no different. District 13: Ultimatum boasts a technically strong audio/video package that will look and sound great in your home theater. The bonus supplements include a making of feature and production diary that offer an excellent behind the scenes look at the film and its production process. Feel free to give this one a spin on movie night.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

cast&pray 04-19-2010 12:13 PM

Thanks Ralph! I always love reading your reviews. I caught this one on HDNet Movies when it aired, it was one of the first foriegn films I had seen in quite a while. Maybe it's my lack of exposure to foriegn films, but I found the soundtrack music to be a refreshing change from what I've grown accustomed to.

adpayne 04-19-2010 02:40 PM

Thanks Ralph!

I've seen the trailer for this on other Magnolia Blu-rays and have been awaiting its release! Sounds like it's worth the wait.


Lazarus Dark 04-19-2010 04:35 PM

B13 was one of my first Bluray rentals, and it was a surprisingly fun ride. Sounds like the same is true for B13-U. Adding to my Netflix queue now.

Summa 04-19-2010 09:35 PM

Awesome!! I still consider District B13 to be one of the best action films EVER, so I can't wait to see the follow-up!

geocab 04-20-2010 05:35 PM

Because of this review I just started watching District B13 on Netflix. I love instant queue! Anyway, first 10 minutes are good, probably going to like this...

DavidAJohnson 04-22-2010 08:12 PM

It's definitely a Good action oriented movie , Seen it already and can't wait to see it on blu ray.

Summa 04-25-2010 11:02 PM

Originally Posted by geocab View Post

Because of this review I just started watching District B13 on Netflix. I love instant queue! Anyway, first 10 minutes are good, probably going to like this...

Instant queue on Netflix takes an already fantastic value (the mail service) and exponentially turbocharges it I'd never seen a single episode of Lost up until a couple months ago...I've now seen EVERY episode...spanning all 5 seasons available on Netflix, plus the current season.

So what did you think of b13?

cast&pray 04-28-2010 08:13 PM

Can't believe the apparent lack of interest in this title. This is a great action movie, people! And the action is executed in a different way than Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, etc.
I picked this one up today, It'll be a great offering the next time we have a group of friends over and the guys start asking me to fire up the theater.

zoey67 04-29-2010 11:17 PM

The 1st one was great, entertaining and funny. This sequel sucks monkey peaches, I ejected this turkey after 50 min which is 10 min longer than my usual 40 min chance I given to every dvd.

Speaking of sequel, smokin aces 1 was one my personal favs that year but this sequel assination's ball also sucked donkey balls and was ejected after 45 min. 2 turkeys in one day is rarety and the next good ones won't be released until 5/11 daybreakers and edge of darkness.

JJHXBR 05-01-2010 01:04 PM

Didn't see the first District 13 film but found this to be an enjoyable thrill ride full of dazzling stunts and awesome fight/ chase scenes.
The bass beat driven soundtrack added a raw hip edge to the non-stop action assault on the senses.
Personally I found this to be an entertaining rental.
For those who are looking for an intelligent film with witty dialog and a great story check mind at the door or pass on this one.
Thanks Ralph for the review.

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