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Overall Rating
2.77

Awesome: 2.3%
Worth A Look: 14.94%
Average54.02%
Pretty Bad: 14.94%
Total Crap: 13.79%

8 reviews, 39 user ratings


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Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)
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by Jason Whyte

"A Carpenter classic is reenvisioned as a January Movie."
1 stars

This new remake of John Carpenter’s classic “Assault on Precinct 13” can play as a commentary on how not to remake a great film. Filled with annoying characters, a weak storyline with too much padding, “cool” filmmaking techniques and excessive violence, the film may feel “new” but it’s not exactly “good”. If anything, this film is an advertisement for the better, more powerful 1976 film of the same name, which is available on DVD and should be rented for a few dollars rather than plunking down $10 for this mess.

Where Carpenter’s film was set in the suburban LA crime lands, this film takes place in cold, dreary Detroit where it never stops snowing. We are first introduced to Jake Roenik (Ethan Hawke) who is undercover on a sting operation. His cover is blown and it leads to a partner of his dying. Cut to eight months later, and Jake is now found manning a desk job at Precinct 13.

This segues to the next story, with the capture of famed cop-killer Bishop (Laurence Fishburne) who is in police custody. While Bishop is in transport to another prison with a few other inmates, his bus is caught in a snowstorm and is forced to stop at Precinct 13 in the care of Roenik. Problem is, this is Precinct 13’s last night (on New Years Eve, no less), and staff and supplies are low. Not too long after Bishop is kept up there, a group of heavily armed men surround the building demanding that Bishop is released to them. Roenik refuses, and thus begins a siege to enter the precinct and remove him. This causes Jake to enlist the help of not only his inexperienced coworkers, but the inmates as well.

Carpenter’s film played on not only being a remake of Howard Hawks’ “Rio Bravo” but as a take on Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”, where the premise was simple: people are trapped inside an inescapable situation and try their best to withstand the horror as much as they can. Despite Carpenter’s film being made on a tiny budget ($300,000), there was an everlasting sense of doom and we could never really SEE the bad guy, which was better in the long run; we just knew they were there and that’s all that mattered.

Director Jean-Francois Richet’s remake not only identifies the bad guys (dirty cops vs. Carpenter’s street gangs) and gives Gabriel Byrne – playing Duvall, an evil cop extraordinaire -- a bunch of screen time, but he relies heavily on blue-filters, hand-held photography, a loud soundtrack and endless “kill shots” that are used here incessantly, as if he and the filmmakers wanted everyone to go “oooh!” at all of the graphic carnage. Less is more. There’s a lot of standing around and bickering between the cops and inmates, too, but even if there was more action I would have been just as bored. There isn’t that much further development of Roenik’s pains with his past; he simply becomes a man who won’t give up his cop shop. He’ll go down with the ship, or in this case, the precinct.

Many of the actors are serviceable but forgettable, bringing to the table what they can. The simple presence of Ethan Hawke, a good actor who was wonderful in the recent “Before Sunset” and the cop drama “Training Day”, reminded me of Ben Affleck’s “Safe Picture/Art Picture” rant in “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.” There isn’t anything really wrong with his performance, but anyone could have played it. Laurence Fishburne is simply playing his Morpheus from “The Matrix” with hair, but the man oozes screen presence no matter what movie he’s in. The real weak link is John Leguizamo, playing one of the inmates, who snaps more one-liners than needed.

I came from the screening of this remake and watched Carpenter’s film again (a screening of “Rio Bravo”, I’m sure, will soon follow) and while some of the acting and dialogue was a bit stiff, I was simply awe-struck at how his use of minimalism and restraint made a superior piece of action filmmaking. We believed the reason of the siege and how they could be trapped in this way. We cared about the people trapped inside the deserted precinct and feared that they may never make it out.

This film made me question why a siege ever took place if Byrne’s Duvall character could just walk in at the beginning, remove Bishop and be done with it all, but then we wouldn’t have this movie, nor would we have an endless array of spent shell casings.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11452&reviewer=350
originally posted: 01/20/05 04:53:30
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell good remake 4 stars
12/29/13 Monday Morning Lots of totally needless violence. Loved it! 4 stars
11/16/11 Golden J. Williams Jr. Good action, original was way better! 3 stars
9/23/10 PAUL SHORTT NEEDLESS REMAKE 2 stars
1/06/10 art THIS REMAKE BURIES THAT TERRIBLE 1976 VERISON! 4 stars
7/08/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* This movie makes you want more and more and more. Awesome plot and awesome action scenes 4 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting storyline. 4 stars
4/25/08 art THIS REMAKE IS FIVE TIMES BETTER THE 1976 ORIGINAL MUCH MORE REALISTI B 4 stars
11/29/07 mb That was OK> 4 stars
10/21/07 fools♫gold very muchly watchable 3 stars
1/27/07 William Goss Surprisingly solid actioner and decent remake, even when logic slips up. 4 stars
11/05/06 Phil M. Aficionado Good cast but very formulaic; if violence is your thing.... 3 stars
10/01/06 Charles Tatum By the numbers action flick, I've seen worse 4 stars
3/09/06 Piz Lot's of action and decent twists. Unspecatular but watchable. 3 stars
2/03/06 Stefan Halka As far as remakes go, it was decent. Nothing special. 3 stars
1/18/06 MrsVoorheesBabyBoy Even worse than the original 2 stars
7/21/05 TheViper Only if there is nothing to do should you watch this borefest. 1 stars
7/19/05 Indrid Cold Well done but completely unremarkable in every way. 3 stars
7/07/05 J This remake assault is succesfull. 5 stars
6/18/05 aldo Enjoyable film...not much story ..but good action 4 stars
6/12/05 Brian Mitchell A combination of the idiot plot with gratuitous violence and needless profanity. 1 stars
6/08/05 John everything a remake should not be - painting by the numbers - awful 1 stars
6/04/05 ELI Christ, it wasn't THAT BAD. enjoyable? Yup! Genius? Fuck no! 4 stars
6/01/05 Monday Morning The psychiatrist needed bigger tits. Not bad entertainment, though. 4 stars
5/15/05 y2mckay Fishburne looks bored, Leguizamo annoys, Drea and Maria look hot, director LOVES head shots 3 stars
5/04/05 What a waste Hideous. A 5 star film "remade" into a turd. 1 stars
4/05/05 Eugene Mortensen go see the original not this one 2 stars
3/26/05 Denise ok 3 stars
3/22/05 The Sorrow More like "Assualt on a cult-classic"... Yet again Hollywood has fucked up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 stars
1/30/05 bongeezer Not bad enough to be campy.. It's just bad 1 stars
1/30/05 Casey Tells okay 3 stars
1/30/05 Fred Pellerito Rent the original instead 2 stars
1/28/05 MorallySound I hate remakes, but this one has some balls. A completely different take on an old story. 5 stars
1/27/05 nick2k i havent seen the original, but i thought this was pretty decent. hardcore violence. =) 3 stars
1/27/05 KingNeutron gritty and somewhat realistic. 3 stars
1/26/05 Steve Michaud No match for the original, of course, but still entertaining in its own right 4 stars
1/24/05 ajay boring. the dialog was written for a 2-year-old. I was close to walking out. 2 stars
1/24/05 impartial judgement blows 1 stars
1/20/05 BlindPenguinChef Another unnessecary remake of a classic movie..you're better off gouging your eyes out 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-Jan-2005 (R)
  DVD: 10-May-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  31-Mar-2005




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