Brad Miller

Archive for the ‘Freedom in Films Friday’ Category

Freedom in Film Friday: District B-13

In Freedom in Films Friday, True nature of the State on April 13, 2012 at 2:00 am

District B-13 is not an alien movie like District 9. Instead it is a 2004 French Film which reminds us that any government today against its own citizens just like the Nazis perpetrated agaisnt the Jews during WWII.

I give District B-13  “3.5 beacons of Liberty out of five”. It has a great message about the evil that government will perpetrate against its own people. And that by exposing the dastardly plans of the politicians lives can be saved.

District B-13 is the name of the inner city slum near Paris that has been walled off by the French Government.  It is an inner city war zone, where the drug dealers have taken over and all government presence has fled including the police. The innocent civilians are left in there with the drug dealers to fend for themselves.

One Resident Leito, played by one of the founders of Parkour, is a vigilante defending his building in District B-13 against Taha the local drug kingpin. The movie starts with Leito flushing down 2o kilos of Taha’s coke. Needless to say Taha doesn’t take too kindly to the destruction of his property and kidnaps Leito’s sister in retaliation.

Using awesome Parkour moves Leito infiltrates Taha’s lair, rescues his sister and escapes with Taha’s men in hot pursuit. Leito and his sister make it to the police station in the wall separating B-13 from the rest of Paris. There they hope to have the cops arrest Taha. But instead the cop in charge arrests Leito and allows Taha to take his sister back into District B-13.

Now fast forward six months later. Our hero is still in jail but guess what the Government now needs him to lead an undercover cop back into to District B-13 to retrieve a stolen neutron bomb.  Capt Damien and undercover cop is ordered by Kruger the Secretary of Defense to pose as a fellow prisoner, gain Leito’s trust, break him out of a prison van and convince him guide him to the bomb inside of District B-13. Now whenever there is a bomb in the movie you know there is a countdown too. Damien only has twenty-four hours to find the him find the Neutron Bomb before it blows.

Leito is reluctant to help find the bomb at first because all he wants to do is find his sister. But after some cool fight scenes against Taha’s men he decides to help Damien find the bomb. They actually give themselves up so they have access to Taha’s lair. Inside they begin to negotiate with Taha so they can disarm the bomb. But Taha wants 20 million dollars or he will take the Bomb into Paris and leave it to go off. So Damien calls Kruger to wire the money to Taha’s account. Kruger tells him no deal.

Damien pretends the wire has gone through. This gives Damien and Leito time to escape to go and disarm the bomb before Taha realizes the rouse. Taha is hoisted on his own petard when his men turn on him. They kill him after his accountant announces that the government used the information he provided for the wire that never happened, allowed the government to wipe out all his bank accounts.  His second in command and the rest of his crew fill him full of holes.

Leito and Damien are stopped by Taha’s second in command in front of the building that has the bomb on the roof. But he lets them go inside. In order to get to the elevator they must fight a huge guy named Yeti. It’s a well choreographed fight scene where they work together to defeat the bigger man. Leito and Damien then scale the exterior of an exposed elevator shaft to the top of the building. On the roof is the bomb and Leito’s sister. She has tipped over a gas can and is about to light the pool of gas under the rocket with the Neutron Bomb on it when Leito grabs the match out of her hand.

Now the ending of this film puts a cool twist on the old “disarm the bomb” before the counter hits zero cliché.  (spoiler alert). This is the best part of the film Instead of the movie ending with Damien heroically entering the code as the timer strikes zero the filmmakers put a new twist on the cliché “bomb disposing scene”. The heroes actually fight each other as the timer ticks down.

When they reach the bomb it is rapidly ticking down… and Damien calls Kruger for the disarm code. The Secretary of Defense confirms that the bomb is still inside District B-13 before he gives the code to Damien. As Damien is entering the code onto the  warhead’s key pad, Leito grows suspicious.The code is made up of the area codes for District B-13, the next set of numbers are the date and  final part of the code is B13.

Leito tries to tell Damien that the code is not to disarm the bomb but to detonate it. He tells him the bomb was not stolen. Earlier in Taha’s warehouse they saw the transport van the neutron bomb had been in when it was stolen and there were no signs of forced entry. It was allowed to be stolen.

Leito tells him that they bomb is meant to level District B-13. Damien being a guardian of the State can’t believe it.

“They would not kill 2 million people.”

Leito in return utters the best line in the movie when he tells him that

“6 million people were killed for not having blonde hair and blue eyes.”

Damien still doesn’t believe him and a cool fight ensues where Leito is trying to keep Damien from entering the code on the bomb’s keypad.   The timer continues to tick down. And with only seconds left Damien gets free, he charges for the key pad on the warhead and is about to put in the last of the code when Leito’s sister grabs him from behind and they both fall to the ground. All three watch as the timer hits zero. But there is no explosion;  Leito was right.

The code was the detonation code.   Leito  and Damien take the warhead to the office of Kruger the Secretary of Defense who planned the mission and they set the neutron bomb on his desk.  Damien uses the bomb to get Krueger to confess to his murderous plan.

Kruger “District B-13 is out of control. The taxpayer’s are scared and sick of paying for it”. “It’s Undemocratic but solves the Problem.”

Damien “Not for you”. He puts in the last of the code but it doesn’t go off. (He must have disarmed it earlier the film isn’t clear on that.)

Damien ” Violence isn’t the only way to solve problems. There are democratic ways.”

He then he points out the window to a t.v. crew filming and that recorded and broadcasted his confession to all the t.v. channels.  So in the end the Government official gets his due.

During the resolution Damien  tells Leito at the resolution of the film that the wall will come down on Monday. Leito’s is still skeptical but Damien assures him that he will make sure they keep their word. (Have you ever met a politician who did?

Overall a fun moving with lots of free running, hand to hand fights, some gun play and a lot of cool stunts.

I didn’t give District B-13 a higher rating than “3.5 Beacons of Liberty out of 5” because the filmmakers fail to grasp the inherent Collectivist Nature of “Democracy”.

The filmmakers put their faith in “Democracy” instead of individual Liberty. They do a great job showing the violent nature of the state but fail to realize that it was the “Democratic Process” which caused the walling off of the slums in the first place. If it weren’t for Drug Prohibition the gangs would not have any funding. If it was not for Public Schools the children would have  places to learn because of the Spontaneous Order of the Free Market. When individuals forget that they and everyone else have a God-given Right to their Life, Liberty and Property the Government becomes and instrument of plunder and murder.

That is the main fault I find with the Film as far as the freedom angle is concerned.  I liked how they portrayed the callousness of the politician towards the 2 million people walled inside of District B-13 and how the State was willing to sacrifice one of their “Loyal Servants”, Damien, in order to carry out their dastardly plan. The walling off of District B-13 is  an illusion to the “walling off of the ghettos” of Warsaw by the Nazis in the 40’s. There the Nazis killed tens of thousands of Jews, used the ghetto as a staging point for the deportation of thousands more to the gas chambers, and eventually razed it to the ground when some of the Jewish prisoners revolted against the Nazi murderers. This is what the filmmakers remind us of when the politicians are willing to “raze” District B-13 to the ground to solve their “problem”.

It amazes me how easily human beings forget the terrible things politicians, bureaucrats, police and soldiers have done in the past and how easily they now swallow the tripe of the current political class who prattle on about  how their plans will create a utopia on Earth . The politicians today convince the people that their brand of “collectivism” will work becuase they are the one’s at the helm. But all the Socialist, Fascist, Communists Schemes are all based upon the same ideology of Collectivism. That ideology is not based upon the  Natural Rights of Individuals but on the whim and brute force of the Majority.  Kruger, the Defense Secretary, is willing to kill two million people who are deemed undesirable so the rest of the “socialistic” system of France can continue on. That is the definition of “Democracy”.

This is the same mentality that led to the 170 million citizens of collectivists countries being slaughtered by their own governments last century.

The film also highlights how government intervention as Mises wrote never accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish. And that every government intervention instead of solving the original problem creates more problems and leads to more and more intervention. The final government intervention in the lives of the residents of District B-13 is to wipe them off the face of the Earth. Central Planners can’t plan their own lives let alone anyone elses. When they try they have to use force to make people conform to their plans. And when people fail to conform to their plans they kill them.  All government action rests upon the threat or use of force.

Overall the film was very enjoyable. It reminded me a lot of a French Jackie Chan movie. If you like Parkour, a.k.a  Free Running, you’ll love this movie because there is a ton of it, the actor playing Leito is one of the founders of  Parkour and the actor playing Damien is an accomplished  Free Runner as well.  The pacing of the film is great, there is never a slow spot with  plenty of action and cool stunts and a great twist ending I would defnitely recommend this film, to those who love action movies and love Liberty.

If you are looking for a fun action film that reminds you that the your government today can kill millions of individuals just like the Nazis killed during  WWII, then check out “District B-13” which I give “3.5 Beacons of Liberty out of Five”.

Brad Miller

AdvocateofLiberty and Learning Lessons from the Past

Freedom in Film Friday: Elite Squad 2- The Enemy Within

In Freedom in Films Friday on April 6, 2012 at 4:58 am

The Motion Picture industry has been a bastion of Collectivist thought for decades. Ayn Rand famously tried to help  stem the “Red Tide” in Hollywood when she wrote her classic “Textbook of Americanism”. I hope to carry on her crusade but to do so in a different way. Instead of focusing on the negative my goal is to bring to light those films from around the globe that exemplify the struggle between Liberty and Coercion.

That is why I am starting a new post on Fridays to rate movies according to if they are  pro-liberty or pr0-tyranny. Each movie will be given a rating of zero to five “Beacons of Liberty”. A film receives a rating based on how well it exemplifies the ideas of Individualism or brings to light the terrible evils of Collectivism. An example of a movie that gets a rating of “5 beacons of liberty out of 5” is the film “1984”. That is the film version of  George Orwell’s classic novel which shows what the logical conclusion of collectivist thought leads to, which is the total annihilation of the individual.   I like all types of movies and I love Liberty so I thought this would be a great way to combine the two together. I’m also working on a Zombie Screenplay, so I will be reviewing tons of Zombie Movies in the future as well.

My first review is Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within. It is a Brazilian film that deals with corrupt police and politicians and their ties with organized crime in Rio de Janeiro. I give it “4 Beacons of Liberty out of 5” because it shines the light on corrupt politicians  who use the power of government to buy votes, enrich themselves and use dirty cops to kill individuals to protect their interests.  The Main Character Lt. Colonel Roberto Nascimento discovers the corruption and is forced to confront the system when his best friend and son are shot.

Elite Squad Two is a sequel. The first Elite Squad focused on the war between cops and drug dealers. That is how  Elite Squad 2 begins but like Lt. Col. Nascimento says toward the end of the film “the system is much more comprehensive than I expected”. In the film Lt. Col. Nascimento is a member of an elite Para-Military Police Unit. He is a gung-ho hard charger ready to get rid of the drug dealing scum. After a prison riot where a drug cartel leader is shot he is promoted to head the wire tapping division at the Rio de Janeiro’s Department of Public Security. That is where he uncovers how the politicians are really the biggest criminals of all in Rio de Janeiro. At the end he testifies before a congressional hearing and because of his testimony he makes many of those corrupt cops and politicians pay.

He is helped throughout by an unlikely ally, a Diogo Fraga who is married to Nascimento’s ex-wife and is president of Human Rights Aide, a Non-Governmental Organization  that is critical of the brutal tactics of the Rio de Janeiro police.  At the beginning there is a prison riot scene where Fraga goes in to negotiate the release of the hostages where Nascimento  is in charge of the police force trying to end it. Things go wrong and the leader of the prison riot is shot as he is surrendering.  This catapults into the public eye both Fraga who is seen as a hero for risking his life to negotiate the end of the violence and Nascimento because his team killed the leader of the riot who was in the process of surrendering. Fraga pushes for Nascimento to get fired but after  public support for Nascimento becomes apparent the governor relents and instead of firing him promotes him to the Department of Public Security.

From there Nascimento goes to war against the drug dealers in the slums of Rio. As his para-military units  kills and captures the drug dealers the corrupt cops with their militias  backed by vote seeking politicians move in to fill the power vacuum.

Fraga and a Journalist are the only other one’s beside Nascimento who see that the politicians are in league with the militias. It all comes to a head when the journalist is murdered after she finds campaign posters and stolen police weapons in a house being rented by the corrupt cops and their militia, which ties the governor and two other corrupt politicians to the criminal activity of the militas.

The finale occurs at a Congressional hearing headed by Fraga in which Nascimento tesitifies and calls out the guilty politicians who are in league with the dirty cops. It is a great scene and one of my favorite lines from Nascimento’s speech is when he  questions his own brutal behavior in the past “I’ve been in the police force for 21 years. And in that time I can’t say why I’ve killed or in the name of whom I’ve killed for. But a cop doesn’t pull the trigger by himself. Half of your (talking to Fraga) colleagues should be in prison…over half.”

What I love most about this movie is the ending sequence or the resolution of the story. There is a sweeping camera shot of the Brazilian Capital, Brasilia. The Brazilian Capital built back in the 50’s was inspired by Socialist Utopian thinking and it was done on a grand scale.. It is stark and isolated. It is surrounded by the poverty and chaos outside its border. But the politicians live in its protected isolation. And that really sums up how the villains in the movie would have stayed in protected isolation if it had not been for Nascimento and Fraga. At the end Nascimento narrates over the sweeping shots of the Brazilian capital.

“The System is much more comprehensive than I expected. No wonder the drug dealers, cops and militiamen kill so many people in the slums. No wonder there are so many scandals that occur in Brasilia and despite the successive administrations the corruption persists.”

Nascimento continues his narration and asks ” Who do you think pays for all of this?” there is a pause then “Exactly and it’s quite expensive. Very Expensive”

Another excellent aspect of the film was the condemnation of the prison system in Brazil.   Diogo Fraga is introduced at the beginning of the film while  giving a lecture on the exploding Brazilian Prison Population. He is giving statistics and gets a chuckle out of the audience when he tells them that with the current rate of incarceration everyone in Brazil will be in prison by 2087. We shouldn’t be laughing in America though. The United States of America has the highest reported incarceration rate in the world. The prison population has exploded since the 1970’s and the biggest reason for that is the “War on Drugs”.

And that is one of the reasons I didn’t give “Elite Squad 2: Enemy Within a “5 Beacons of Liberty out of 5” because it doesn’t  address the real reason why the corrupt police and politicians have the excuse to expand their power and enrich themselves in the process.  When you destroy individual liberty through the law, the law enforcers must become increasingly totalitarian to keep the population in compliance.

The story is fiction but deals with real issues not only in Brazil but in every Government on Earth.  I also didn’t give it “5 Beacons of Liberty” because while the film does highlight the criminal activities of the police and Politicians, it fails to indict the real “System”, which is Government. That is where the few through legal means enrich themselves and their friends.  Stated differently, the film fails to get down to the bedrock of the problem which is Government itself.

Frederic Bastiat beautifully defined Government  which still applies today.

“Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else”.

That being said, anytime you have a congressional scene at the end of a movie in which Government officials are called to account and are shown being led to jail is an exciting and cathartic experience.  The story is one that anyone who loves liberty can get behind and the movie does illuminate corruption of politicians within the “System”.

But like Nascimento says in the film “the system will give up a hand to save an arm…and it is resilient.”
Overall I really enjoyed the film. It has some great action sequences, the  acting is first-rate and the story has a good pace. There is a subplot between  Nascimento and his son that will definitely pull at your heart-strings and reminds us that the force of government seems fine when it is used far away or against someone else but when it comes close to  home it becomes apparent how deadly it truly is.

Check out “Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within” and let me know many “Beacons of Liberty” you would give it.

Brad Miller

AdvocateofLiberty and Living a life Free of Coercion

If you’re on Twitter you can follow me @bmill247