More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

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

8 reviews, 39 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Great Battle, The by Jay Seaver

True Fiction by Jay Seaver

Pick of the Litter by Jay Seaver

Fahrenheit 11/9 by Peter Sobczynski

House With A Clock In Its Walls, The by Peter Sobczynski

Life Itself (2018) by Peter Sobczynski

Unity of Heroes by Jay Seaver

Hanagatami by Jay Seaver

Predator, The by Jay Seaver

Fahrenheit 11/9 by Rob Gonsalves

subscribe to this feed

Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)
[] Buy posters from this movie
by U.J. Lessing

"Where are Sipowitz and Simone when you need them?"
3 stars

When I first heard that a remake was being made of Assault on Precinct 13, my instant reaction was revulsion. I remembered how the brutality and menace of the first film had more in common with Night of the Living Dead than any action film I had ever seen. Thankfully, director Jean-François Richet and writer James DeMonaco refuse to shy away from creating a brutal work.

When I was in college, I went to see John Woo’s The Killer at a midnight showing in Chicago. It took my breath away. Woo took the bloodiness of the late American western and added balletic qualities to create a type of stylized violence that I had never seen before. Combinations of over-the-top leaps, rolls and slow motion duels were awe-inspiring and beautiful.

Twelve years later, I’m not so pleased about the impact Woo’s films have had on action movies. We live in a cinematic world where Woo’s original Hong Kong approach has all but saturated the action film genre. Most of these films are rated PG-13, so the brutality is gone, but the leaping, rolling and slow motion duels are all still there. Films like Elektra, Van Helsing, Matrix: Revolutions, Catwoman, and I Robot douse the audience with over-stylization, sheer implausibility and hyper-stimulation. Any sense of seeing ourselves within the movie is completely annihilated.

In this age of computer animated wire-foo, how refreshing it is to see a remake of Assault on Precinct 13. The original movie is one of John Carpenter’s very early directorial projects, and is itself a remake of Howard Hawks’ Rio Bravo. While the original Assault on Precinct 13 is unpolished and a bit stilted, Carpenter’s brutal and mysterious street gang, that attempts to lay waste to a small group of prisoners and police in an empty police station, is still chilling.

In the latest version, director Jean-François Richet and writer James DeMonaco have intensified the character development and changed some significant plot points. The film introduces us to undercover cop, Jake Roenick (Ethan Hawk). After losing two friends in a bust-gone-bad, Roenick has backed away from any active assignments and has pushed himself into a desk job. Now it’s New Year’s Eve, and with a skeleton crew he is responsible for taking charge of Precinct 13’s old police station that is closing is doors forever. With slippery roads and a major snowstorm taking place outside, Roenick believes he’s in for a quiet night. All that of course changes when the snowstorm diverts a bus carrying crime lord Marion Bishop (Laurence Fishburne) to the precinct house. Suddenly, a small, well-trained army of cops besieges the station. It seems that Bishop used to work with these corrupt policemen, and they want him dead before he squeals, even if it means killing everyone in the precinct house. The police and criminals trapped inside work together for survival.

Assault on Precinct 13 focuses more on brutality and survival, and less on action. There are only a few moments when the audience is encouraged to cheer on the survivors and many instances when the audience is shocked by the death of a character. Unlike most recent action films, a character’s morality does not insure his or her survival. Battle sequences are quick, frenetic, violent and at times shocking. Characters are not enjoying the power of violence, but trying to escape from it. These scenes have considerably more weight than the computer animated matrix junk Hollywood churns out like popcorn.

Nevertheless, Assault on Precinct 13 often tries our common sense with its details. Despite being members of a top-rated police swat team, the villains make some dreadful tactical errors. In the original Precinct 13, the attacking street gang hides all signs of gang war after each round of battle, while in this remake, every attack is louder and more ridiculous than the last. No snowstorm could ever block out the sounds of such intense combat, and the massive amount of sniper ammo shells, assault armor and other blatant evidence would obviously implicate the villains no matter how thoroughly they attempted to clean up the scene. One wonders why writer DeMonaco is so distrustful of cops. This is his second screenplay to deal with honest policemen battling corrupt officers. (The Negotiator was the first) Also Laurence Fishburne basically plays a naughty version of Morpheus from the Matrix. His voice inflections and stylized presentation seem terribly out of place here.

The remake of Assault on Precinct 13 will never come close to the cult status of its predecessor, but it does do a nice job of creating action without empty effects and choreographed fights. It stuns audience the old fashioned way.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 01/20/05 16:25:06
[printer] printer-friendly format  

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
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
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're better off gouging your eyes out 2 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  19-Jan-2005 (R)
  DVD: 10-May-2005



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast