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Assault On Precinct 13
15Assault On Precinct 13 (2005)

updated 27 January 2005
reviewer's rating
4 out of 5
Reviewed by Stella Papamichael


Director
Jean-François Richet
Writer
James DeMonaco
Stars
Ethan Hawke
Laurence Fishburne
Maria Bello
Gabriel Byrne
John Leguizamo
Ja Rule
Length
108 minutes
Distributor
Entertainment
Cinema
28 January 2005
Country
USA
Genre
Action
Thriller
Web Links
Official site



Blood raw and bristling with tension, Jean-François Richet's claustrophobic thriller Assault On Precinct 13 is a satisfyingly sharp update of John Carpenter's cult classic. Itself inspired by Howard Hawk's 50s western Rio Bravo, the premise is beautifully simple: Ethan Hawke leads a posse of cops and crooks to hold off a mysterious enemy intent on breaking inside the titular precinct. Richet introduces new twists and simmering character drama while avoiding pretensions to conserve the ferocity of the 1976 original.

Central to the conflict is drugs kingpin Marion Bishop (Laurence Fishburne), being held at precinct 13 the night before he's due to give evidence that will incriminate a gang of corrupt cops led by Marcus Duvall (Gabriel Byrne). Boxed in with Bishop is Officer Roenick (Ethan Hawke), who promotes him to a makeshift SWAT team that also includes a crotchety rozzer (Brian Dennehy); paranoid junkie (John Leguizamo); police psychiatrist (Maria Bello); sexy secretary (Drea de Matteo) and petty thief (Aisha Hinds).

"BLOODY AND BALLSY"

Richet relies on action set-ups more often than Carpenter and he cheats by leaving the precinct for the climactic scenes, but he makes up for these misdemeanours elsewhere. Although bloody and ballsy, the violence resonates rather than titillates. There's also compelling drama between the gunplay as Roenick struggles to keep everyone in cahoots while fending off personal demons. Hawke's inherent fragility lends a sobering edge to high-octane derring-do and Fishburne's dead-eyed intensity makes a neat counterpoint. Even a couple of plot holes don't undermine this intelligently crafted thriller, which dares to think outside of the box.

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