It's New Year's Eve. A Detroit police precinct is closing down—only a couple of cops remain on duty there while the staff clean out their desks. The weather outside is frightful. And thus the stage is set for trouble … which arrives in the form of a bus transporting prisoners. When the prisoners are locked into holding cells to wait out the storm, the precinct is besieged by killers bent on gunning down everyone inside—cops and crooks alike.
This remake of John Carpenter's 1976 thriller Assault on Precinct 13 strays from the details of the original in many ways. Instead of a black cop pushing back against prejudice, we have Jake Roenick (Ethan Hawke), a white cop with a therapist (Maria Bello). Instead of sparse, sharp-edged dialogue, there's relentless profanity and crass innuendoes. And as our heroes get out the heavy artillery to defend themselves from the invasion, the villains they use for target practice aren't street gang members … they're cops.
Director Jean-Pierre Richet, formerly a rap music producer, makes his first prominent American movie into an unremarkable, even dismaying, event—just another generically hyperviolent and overbearing genre flick. Instead of improving on Carpenter's film, he's only succeeded in making it a wearying assault on the eyes, ears, and intelligence.
My full review is at Christianity Today Movies.
Tom Neven (Plugged In) says, "The audience is encouraged to root for a bad guy who's fighting badder guys. The sense that bad character and bad actions aren't mitigated by later 'good' behavior is completely missing. And that leads to a final disappointing development." It ends, he says, with "a plot twist that will assault audiences' moral worldview every bit as ...1
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