To some, the new film Brick Mansions is notable as one of the final projects starring recently-deceased actor Paul Walker. Others know of it as a remake of the French film District B13. Or, you might not be familiar with it at all, given the somewhat muted promotional push. Like the original, the movie acts as a showcase for parkour, the physical discipline of getting from one point to another as quickly as possible, often utilizing impressive acrobatic techniques. But if you want better examples of the sport in action, then it’s best to turn to a documentary. After all, the stunts in these nonfiction films aren’t performed by doubles and there’s no safety apparatuses in play. That’s much more in the true spirit of parkour.
While Hollywood generally sees parkour as a means to an action scene end, there is in fact a philosophy behind it, and each of these docs get into that to one degree or another. Jump London, a 2003 film widely credited with causing an explosion in popularity for the sport in the UK, didn’t appeal to youth just because of the cool tricks. Its message of reclaiming locomotion in an era dominated by traffic jams pushes traceurs, the French practitioners of the form, as true free spirits. Seeing them bound around famous London landmarks is absolutely exhilarating. That theme is continued in the film’s 2005 sequel, Jump Britain, which follows the traceurs to new places all over the country.
Watch Jump London in full, care of director Mike Christie, by clicking through below. He also uploaded the sequel here.