How come every movie coming out these days is a sequel, remake, or variation of an older movie? Assault on Precinct 13 is another one of these, this time it's a remake of a 1976 John Carpenter film. To me, 1976 isn't really old enough to warrant a remake, but it seems to be a trend now days--I guess 25 years is a decent amount of time, but I really don't see it as necessary.
A slightly different story than the original with the same premise, Ethan Hawke plays Jake, a worn out police chief who's station is shutting down. Once an ambitious undercover cop that witnessed his team get gunned down, he now prefers a desk job to having to give orders that may risk the lives of others. On the night that his station is scheduled to close, close to that time a transport of criminals shows up at their door to be houses over night due to the bad weather. Who shows up on this transport other the big crime boss Marion Bishop played by that master of cool, Laurence Fishburne (Ok, so Samuel Jackson is also a master of cool, but we're talkin' about Morpheous here!)
Well, it's here that the story starts to pick up, and where it varies from the original, because what the characters describe as "Bishop's Gang" show up to "free" him using intense force. We quickly learn that it's not Bishop's gang at all, but instead dirty cops attempting to kill him before he indicts them.
Unnecessary remake be damned though, because even without knowing anything about this movie and having no loyalty (due to never seeing) the original, this was one relentless and captivating film. This was no ordinary Hollywood movie where you know what will happen to each character and how the movie will end. No, this was the type of movie where everything you think you know is completely taken down with each new death. This has an independent feel with a Hollywood budget and is definitely the type of movie I am fond of. Eliminating predictability elevates movies in my eye and makes them worth watching again and recommending to new viewers.
Ethan Hawke is not the strongest of actors though, and not one of my favorites. He does a good job in this movie but it's nothing to rant and rave about. Mr. Fishburne on the other hand always does an amazing job. He plays a cool ruthless criminal well, and makes the reputation that the other characters are scared of believable.
An ending that keeps you gasping at the unexpected, bullets through heads of characters you were sure would survive, and an intense setting through escalating tension inside the precinct makes this a movie for any action fan. If you can't stand blood and violent scenes, go rent Pocahontas instead.
Technical and Features:
Hollywood movie, not much more to say about that. The effects are good, convincing, graphic... what more do you want?
Despite all my positive comments, this movie was not the type of movie that blows me out of the water. It was a great story, great characters, and everything as the such, but it's only B material. Probably a B+, but a B anyway.