Premise: A remake of John Carpenter’s 1976 film. On New Year’s Eve, corrupt cops put a destitute police precinct under siege as they try to kill a high profile prisoner (Laurence Fishburne).
What Works: The film is full of action and is a lot of fun. Ethan Hawke is very good as the police detective in charge of the precinct and Laurence Fishburne brings a smoothness and charisma to his role that makes him a memorable antihero. The supporting cast of criminals is also very good. Rapper Ja Rule sets aside the typical egotistical and overconfident posturing and delivers a subtle and vulnerable performance. The cinematography uses a lot of handheld camera work and keeps things exciting with a lot of unsteady movement.
What Doesn’t: There are few action sequences that are poorly edited together so that it is hard to tell how actions took place. This not a particularly deep film and its characters do not have much of an arc to go through.
Bottom Line: Assault on Precinct 13 is not a film about deep explorations of the human condition, but it is a fun action film that keeps the audience well entertained.
Episode: #36 (January 23, 2005)