14 December 2006 | mstomaso
Intense, wild, well-acted thriller - just a tad absurd
Jean Richet's remake of the Carpenter thriller Assault on Precinct 13 is surprisingly entertaining. Assault on Precinct 13 (2005) loses the Carpenteresque weirdness and soundtrack, and tells the story of a remote, run-down police precinct under assault using more conventional cinematography and production. This is an achievement, but not because of the difficulty of following in the footsteps of Carpenter - because the film entertains without doing so, and because the narrative - just like all of Carpenter's films- manages to keep going without regard for the improbability of the plot. In other words, the Director kept a straight face and made the film entertaining enough to allow for a certain amount of suspended disbelief.
Strong, fast, characterization - part of the legacy of Carpenter's film - makes a big difference early on. The cast is uniformly excellent and the main characters - unusual for this genre - are all unique, believable and consistent. Fishburn plays a big bad guy incarcerated by fiat in the small, run-down Precinct 13. Hawke is the Sergeant in charge of the precinct - a man with psychological and drug problems associated with a traumatic event which opens the film. These two improbable allies must pool their resources to defend the precinct against... who?
The film is first and foremost an action film. The action is typical for the genre as of 2005 - i.e. - much of what takes place is only believable because of its entertainment value and internal consistently. Suspense is well constructed throughout the film, and the pace of the film reaches a frenetic level about 1/3rd of the way through, never letting up. The cinematography is surprisingly dissimilar to the original. Richet's film is more of a standard suspense thriller than anything bearing Carpenter's signature.
Recommended for its entertainment value, solid cast, and well-constructed (though somewhat ridiculous) plot.