Soon after the opening credits of director Jean–François Richet's Assault on Precinct 13, a gangster resembling Morpheus from The Matrix sits down near the back of a crowded church. The morning's sermon is a simple lesson: "Cherish your power to choose the righteous path."
This cynical churchgoer quickly disobeys. The church is quickly thrown into chaos. As the Detroit police close in for his capture, a series of events is set in motion that begins with a dead body in the sanctuary and concludes with corpses strewn all through a police precinct in the dead of a snow–buried night.
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. He's chosen to remake a 1976 action film by one of the kings of B–movies—John Carpenter—who went on to direct Halloween, Escape from New York, The Thing, and They Live. But instead of improving on Carpenter's film, he's only succeeded in making it a wearying assault on the eyes, ears, and intelligence.
Carpenter's Assault took a disrespected rookie policeman, some secretaries and cops, and some jailed crooks—including a notorious killer on death row—and he penned them all up in a police precinct on the night before its closure. Due to the office's imminent shutdown, the usual staff and supplies were unavailable. Our heroes were left to crouch behind desks while an army of zombie–like street gang members closed in from all sides. Fast, lean, efficient, and shockingly violent (for the time), this original Assault developed a few memorable characters with sparse, potent dialogue. Part exploitation–film, ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
Assault on Precinct 13
This slideshow is only available for subscribers.
Please log in or subscribe to view the slideshow.