“Assault on Precinct 13” marks the return of the R-rated action movie. It is the dark and savvy remake of John Carpenter’s 1976 cult classic of the same name, which in turn was inspired by Howard Hawks’ 1959 Rio Bravo. French Director Francois Richet’s American filmmaking debut has done right by the cult favorite about a ragtag group of cops and criminals trapped in a police station. The thrill of this dark action flick is rightly focused on the characters, eerie setting, and tons of stripped down action and gunplay that truly brings this old school throw-down to life.
The driving force of the film lies within the chemistry of the ensemble cast. In “Precinct 13” there is a fine line between the good-guys and the bad-guys, as the cops and criminals have to team up ...view middle of the document...
As for the antagonist, Gabriel Byrne gives his usual grim performance as Marcus Duvall, the crooked head of Detroit’s racketeering and organized crime department out to kill everyone inside of Precinct 13. Although, the surface of the story is the eclectic bunch of cops and criminals fighting to survive the onslaught of Duvall’s army; the heart of the movie is the relationship between the young sergeant Roenick and the cop killer Bishop who do not trust each other, but, must fight together to survive the night in the eerie precinct 13.
The film is set on a wintry night in Detroit on New Year’s Eve. The cell phones are jammed and the phone lines and lights have been cut inside of rundown building. The motley crew is surrounded by a well-armed team of rogue police officers in the middle of a snow storm, outnumbered, with few weapons. The pace of the movie is extremely fast with a sense of danger lurking around every corner. This is a very dark movie where, for most of the film, everyone’s faces are shrouded by shadows.
“Assault on Precinct 13” is a throw back to the action movies of the 80’s and early 90’s, a time when action movies were rated R and stunts were done by real people, and not computers. The thriller is flooded with sex, violence, and foul language, indeed deserving its R rating. The movie is stripped of all the computer-generated action sequences that have become the norm of present day movies and is immersed with grisly gunplay. With several graphic scenes of men getting their brains blown out of the backs of their heads, this movie invokes the action films of years passed. As a critic once said, “[As] young Frenchman in his American directing debut… Rechet displays a terrific sense of mood and atmosphere, and his terse, succinct pacing and involving characters deflect any questions of plausibility”.