Assault on Precinct 13

[yasr_overall_rating size=”large”]

Lawrence Fishburne is a cold calculating criminal!  Ethan Hawke is a burned out cop with major issues!  Yes, kids… grab a blanky, a car, and a cola… it’s Assault on Precinct 13, the remake of a John Carpenter movie that I haven’t seen before but, if it from a time before he became washed-up, I may have to go seek it out one of these days.

MPW-12797The basic story is that it’s New Years Eve and Precinct 13 is about to be shut down.  The station is as old and outdated as the pop culture references in Shark Tale.  It’s a quiet night, most of the coppers are out partying… there aren’t any crooks in the cells… and the almost-abandoned precinct is being run by Jake Roenick (Ethan Hawke) who is addicted to pain pills to escape an event from his past.

However, the Auld Lang Syne is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of a prison bus carrying the notorious cop killer mafia guy, Marion Bishop (Lawrence Fishburne) and some other various no-goodnicks.  The bus can’t proceed in a snowstorm so they need to stash Bishop and the other prisoners in the precinct for the night until the weather improves.

Of course, it’s shortly after this that all hell breaks loose for, you see… Bishop – who is on his way to his day in court – had a lot of cops on his mafia payroll and, when he names those names, those cops are going to be sharing a cell with him at the pokey.  So, to prevent this, the crooked cops show up at the precinct to kill Bishop and each and every witness that is unfortunate to be there at the time.

So, now the criminals and cops of Precinct 13 must form an uneasy and unsteady alliance to beat back the bad cops and save their own asses…  but how long will the truce hold?  How long will the trust last?  Who will blink first?

Assault on Precinct 13 won’t be a movie long remembered, I’ll admit that, but it’s a fun ride while it lasts.  Granted, I wish I’d seen more beef in the drama and writing department because a lot of the movie is flat and unbelievable, populated by just about every cop and prisoner cliché in the book short of the kindly Irish street bobby.

However, as an action film, this movie is supremely passable.  It relied on good old fashioned shoot outs and explosions rather than CGI and bullettime.  It works for it.  Assault on Precinct 13 has a grim, gritty, and brutal air to it that gives it an identity all its own.  It looks and feels different from the action movies of today and, in my book, that’s a huge plus.

Ethan Hawke does his absolute best with what he’s given as does Lawrence Fishburne who plays a quiet man with a plan… sort of like Morpheus but without all that Matrix and hero stuff.

Yeah, you know… there are gigantic holes in the plot and the overall logic of the story, but if you can ignore them and go with it, Assault on Precinct 13 is a fun ride with a pretty strong cast playing some unfortunately un-extraordinary parts.

I wish this movie was a tad bit better, but what we got will do for an action movie.  The balls to the wall manly action quotient is high enough to make this movie one of the few decent action movies that January has brought in a long, long time.

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About the author

Jason Donner

Jason Donner devoured the universe and you are all living inside him.