Sunday, 1 September 2013

Assault on Precinct 13 [2005]

I like this movie, even though I tend to dread remakes because I’ve often been disappointed when comparing remakes to originals that set too high a bar. To enjoy the 2005 version of Assault on Precinct 13, I have to put the 1976 original out of my mind. It’s no easy task. John Carpenter’s version has a raw quality to it and a lot I admire. It was stark and direct, going right for the jugular. The remake has more layers and plot changes, as if they were deliberately going all out to improve on the original. The opening scene has Sergeant Jake Roenick [Ethan Hawke] involved in a drug-sting that goes horribly wrong, leaving both members of his team dead, along with the drug dealers. Haunted and tortured by guilt because it was his orders that led to the officers’ deaths, he opts for a desk-job so he can avoid making those kinds of decisions again. A reality his psychologist, Dr. Alex Sabian [Maria Bello], is trying to make him admit and face. He’s spending New Year’s Eve working at Precinct 13 with a skeleton crew: secretary Iris [Drea de Matteo], and Sergeant-on-the-verge-of-retirement Jasper O’Shea [Brian Dennehy], before it closes down for good. This is where the plot changes a great deal from the original movie. The gang element and the shock factor with the double-murder at the parked ice cream van are replaced with the back-story of crime boss, Marion Bishop [Laurence Fishburne], arrested after murdering an undercover police officer in a crowded church. This leads to another plot strand involving corrupt cop, Captain Marcus Duvall [Gabriel Byrne], who, along with many other cops, could wind up in jail if Bishop testifies against them.
All in all, as remakes go, this is not a bad one. It has its moments, the action set pieces are well-handled, along with the humor, and the acting is excellent. I’ve seen it several times and, while I’d say it isn’t as good as the original, it’s my kind of movie, and I’ll happily watch it again.

My pick of "this is a good part" moments:

The drug-sting that goes wrong:

The clever switch-around effect with Ethan Hawke’s mirror reflection and the background that remains the same:

Marion Bishop’s arrest:

Marion Bishop dictating the terms:

Jasper with the Tommy Gun: “You’ll never take me alive, G-Man!”

Jake Roenick, empathizing with Marcus Duvall: “That man is in hell right now.”

Beck [John Leguizamo], attempting to get on the right side of Bishop:

The assault on Precinct 13 begins:

Setting the ground rules for a vital alliance:

Marcus Duvall, reasoning the situation as simple mathematics:

Dr. Alex Sabian [Maria Bello], out of her depth, but eventually finding her inner-strength:

Cops and criminals unite to fend off the second assault:

The stand-off:

Assault from above and the last stand:

Tunnel escape:

Death and justice in the woods:

No comments:

Post a Comment