Skip navigation

Film reviews

Assault on Precinct 13

Title: Assault on Precinct 13

Director: Jean-Francois Richet

Stars: Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne

Reviewer: Matt Eccles

Rating (out of 10): 5

Review:

Throwing money at a remake of a long-established cult favourite is not by itself a bad thing. If the contemporary version simultaneously pays homage to the original and offers entertaining new perspectives and insights into the story, then the expenditure can be easily justified. Good examples of such films in recent years have been Oceanís Eleven and Dawn Of The Dead, which many thought were better than they had any right to be. Of course, such rejigs are far outnumbered by those that are any combination of pointless, humdrum, ill-judged and plain lazy. If a modern rendition avoids all four of these pitfalls, then it is likely to be at least a critical success. If not, then chances are that many millions will have been wasted on a turkey.

This slick 21st century take on John Carpenterís highly regarded 1976 B-movie of the same name is not an unmitigated disaster, but neither is it a resounding triumph. It is at least a sincere update which endeavours to provide a spin that is pertinent and modern; for example, the hoodlum assailants of the original are here corrupt cops trying to off a criminal overlord who is about to testify against them. However, the film is hampered by pitiless, one-dimensional characters and repetitive scenes of gunplay which lack tension and soon grow rather tedious.

Big-hitters Laurence Fishbourne and Gabriel Byrne stroll through their roles, no doubt toward pay cheques that exceed Carpenterís entire budget. Meanwhile, leading man Ethan Hawke and the rest do what they can to engage our sympathies throughout the regulation-issue carnage.

Considering the criteria above, then, Assault On Precinct 13 canít fairly be said to be a lazy or pointless reworking, but it is certainly humdrum and therefore, unfortunately for all concerned, a failure.

Buy Assault on Precinct 13 from Amazon.co.uk