Assault on Precinct 13 is a riotous attack on movie-going audiences as it gives fans of the violent actions films that seem to be getting more and more watered down what they want. While the story borders on ridiculous, the action is relentless enough to keep your attention for the duration.
Assault is an “updated” version of the 1976 John Carpenter film, of which I have not seen, taking place on a snowy New Year’s Eve, coinciding with the final hours of operation of Precinct 13, one of Detroit’s oldest precinct houses.
Precinct 13 is headed by Sergeant Jake Roenick (Hawke), a cop coping with a fatal undercover accident, on his way to a desk job, ensuring he stays behind the desk and out of the field. What Sergeant Roenick doesn’t know is that his desk job is going have to wait just a little longer as the recently captured crime lord, Marion Bishop (Fishburne), is being re-routed to the precinct, just for the night, due to inclement weather.
You may be thinking that isn’t much of a problem, just lock him up right? Will, Bishop may be in police custody, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t still a wanted man. A gang of dirty cops surround the precinct determined to capture and kill Bishop before he can spill the beans on their involvement with Bishop’s life of crime.
A simple story that is simply executed, and if you can handle a story that evades the scope of reality on occasion then this is certainly a film for you.
With John Leguizamo along for comedy relief, Maria Bello and Drea de Matteo along for the looks and a couple of blown out heads, a knife through the throat and blood drenched snow thrown in for pizzazz Assault on Precinct 13 manages to appeal to the primitive side of your movie choosing palette.
My opinion of Ethan Hawke has grown since Before Sunset and whether he is wallowing in self pity or blowing someone’s brains out the other side of their head it works for me. Where I thought the film would stumble was with Fishburne and Ja Rule in the mix as I expected a couple of guys acting tough, but is what I got was a garrulous Ja as inmate Smiley and a cool cat in Fishburne who kept the tough guy act in check, for the most part.
Assault on Precinct 13 is a good film to cap off our winter season and an excellent film to help kick start the action genre for 2005.