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ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (2005) Review

A reader last night wrote me a letter about enthusiasm, love and passion for the various grades of features that play in theaters, dvd players or whatever media is your poison. Specifically, they were pointing me at my old review for SWORD & THE SORCEROR. In the opening of that geekgasm thinly veiled as a review I went through the various grades I consider while sitting in a theater. Those being Cinema, Film, Movie and Flicks.

Of all of those, Great Flicks seem to be the most maligned. These tend to be features that relish their genre roots, that wallow in the conventions and tirelessly work to do one thing above all else… ENTERTAIN. Flicks are about giving the audience a buzz that gives them a head start on the post flick drunken discussion at the bar, the pad or the shithole you call home.

Generally, FLICKS are not about impressing the parents or the college film school professor. Often times, they’re the ones you take in with your friends that most make you laugh and howl and get giddy about life. The type of movie that asks you to dodge bullets in the theater, that make you say, “GODDAMN!” then suddenly the audience is laughing with you in the joy of the moment, instead of screaming for you to shut the fuck up.

These are the FLICKS that often times you first catch alone, but then… you gather friends together with that tell-tale phrase of, “Oh man, YOU GOTTA SEE DIS!”

John Carpenter’s ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 was a damn good flick! Hell, when I’m watching it with friends and we’re high on the power of synth-scores that rattle the ball hairs… it’s down right FUCKING GREAT. One would never call it a great work of cinema – though it has great cinematic moments, like the ice cream scene.

Last Friday – I got an email from a publicist working on the “ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 campaign” that John Carpenter would love for me to give him a call and talk about the remake with him at home. Well, any excuse to hear that gloriously cynical voice of John’s commenting on just about anything would be fun, but most of all… I was curious. I’ve had the great fortune of knowing John for a good many years now, and the one thing he isn’t full of is bullshit. He can’t stand it. John knows what he likes and he doesn’t mince words about it.

So I gave John a call, he picked right up and I tell him some publicist told me to dial him up, and he was like… “Harry, I love talking with ya, but I never told a publicist to have you call me.” LOL, see… I can just imagine some publicist somewhere hearing that John apparently liked the remake, and thinking outside of the box (god I hate that phrase) thought – I know, Harry has John’s number, let’s have Knowles call and talk to John about this remake. That’ll be great.

So, what does John Carpenter think of the non-John Carpenter ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13? He was surprised by it, he actually thought it was a damn good flick. His complaints? Oh – you better believe he had problems – but as he said, they were nitpicks. What were they? Well, John had a few instances in the film, where he wished the director had pulled the camera back a bit so the audience could see what was going on, instead of over-relying on close-ups. By no means did it ruin the film for him… but as any lover of Carpenter flicks knows… the man loves his scope frame and he love to pull that camera back and use close-ups as a last resort.

Most of John’s ire was reserved for his original, which he labeled as being “SLOW” and “LOW-BUDGET” – Now, I can’t stand to hear great filmmakers kicking their babies, so I wedged my body between John’s foot and his original ASSAULT and defended the pacing beyond a budget constraint, but that in a great SIEGE film, that sense of dread and impending doom is important. It’s what that lousy fucking ALAMO movie last year never had a clue about. While Peter Jackson totally got it for both TWO TOWERS and RETURN OF THE KING.

Sure, in a siege film the action better pay off for the wait, and in his original – the action was rather minimalist in scope, but the results were emotionally solid and worth the investment.

Now – you may be thinking that me spending all this time talking about John and the original ASSAULT, that I’m going to raise my nose in the air and promptly lay a loaf across this latest remake, that we’re having a never-ending case of assault and battery with… but, you’d be wrong.

The new ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 is a great flick – pure down to the pubes B filmmaking without pretense, without self-parody, without compromise. The film doesn’t pull its punches. Characters you like, die. Actors you love, die.

The thing that’s great about all of this is the original roots for this lay in RIO BRAVO – ah hell, it actually all goes back to 300 Spartans and an impossible siege a few millennia ago, but the case study for the B-genre Siege story is this.

What makes it B?

The scope. By having it focus on a small group of characters fighting off a superior force you’ve limited the scope of the tale. A-siege genre films are films like TWO TOWERS, ZULU, ZULU DAWN, Wayne’s THE ALAMO, THE MERCENARIES and FORT APACHE. B-Siege genre films are like RIO BRAVO (which was so great that in many circles it defeats all siege movies period), the original ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, NID DE GUEPES and THE LAST COMMAND.

Now being a “Flick” or a “B-movie” isn’t a bad thing. We’re not talking about Grade Z cinema – we’re talking about rooted in the cinema of cool, badass killer fun flick world. Stuff like SWORD & THE SORCEROR comes to mind. Not just because that lady reminded me of that review… but you click on that link above, and you read just the bristling excitement and enthusiasm I have for SWORD & THE SORCEROR and I’m telling you… That’s how I walked out this remake.

I walked out on fire. Instantly began making cel phone calls to friends and folks I know that I had to let in on this secret. This killer flick.

When I sat down, all I had heard was that Ethan Hawke stole the film. That’s it.

Couldn’t agree more. Oh sure, Fishburne is a badass in this film. But essentially, that character is little more than a cipher. He’s there for image, cool and line delivery that makes ya clench and say “Damn”!

However, right from the opening surprise frames of this film, Ethan is creating a 3 Dimensional character. It’s like, his TRAINING DAY character has continued working for a decade or so. You see the mileage on his face, the hurt. He’s alive within the scenes shaking the emulsion and checking for sprocket hole damage. It’s so disarming a beginning performance that you’re not sure if this is actually the movie you paid to see. When it kicks into gear, you begin to think… Damn, this is great.

Then Jean-Francois Richet pulls a couple of cinematic tricks that are disarming for anyone that know the slightest about how shots work. It’s some stuff that’d make Zemeckis smile. The cinematographer, Robert Gantz, this is someone to watch. He hasn’t really done anything yet, other than this – but the work here is strong. The frames, the camera movement and the atmosphere and lighting are just exquisite. This is some very fun work going on here. And, whatever company did the Digital Snow! BRAV-O!!! The snow in this film is a great co-star for Hawke and Fishburne.

Speaking of supporting players – that’s something that I love about this movie. Every performer is dead right for their role.

Maria Bello – she’s been great in exactly 1 film for me thus far, though I’ve enjoyed her work in several films. But it was in THE COOLER that she shined brightest thus far. Here, she plays a Police Therapist that is helping Hawke’s character overcome his trauma issues, but frankly… She’s more fucked up than he is. She’s self-analyzed herself into her own little neurotic quirks that really make her, well a handful. The chemistry between her and Hawke is pretty damn strong.

Drea de Matteo – Ok – this gal, this is a Carpenter gal. Oh sure, she’s on that sugar drivel known as JOEY, but she didn’t show up for that type of duty here. This is your standard Carpenter strong independent knows when, who and where she wants to fuck and on her terms type of character that’s funny, yet not a cartoon. She has a libido and knows the kink that strokes it best. The final scene in the tracking shot sequence of little character vignettes that has her and Fishburne together. Fucking gold. I love love LOVE that scene.

Ja Rule – Other than THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, I’ve managed to avoid every film this guy has done. It seems, from a few reviews I’ve read, his general shittiness from his other films has left a stank upon him, that some have smeared on his role here. But ya know what? Fuck that. Smiley don’t like that. Now sure, speaking in the third person is something that dumbshit annoying ‘tards do. Ya know what, I think Smiley is supposed to be a dumbshit annoying ‘tard. And I buy Ja Rule as a dumbshit annoying ‘tard. I believe it, don’t doubt it for a second. Perfect casting.

Brian Dennehy – Ya know – I love that he’s doing his absolute best George Kennedy here. It suits him. He’s got the swagger, the belligerence, the arrogance and the tenacity. He’s a lug, but he’s our lug.

Gabriel Byrne – of everyone, he’s the disappointment for me. He’s just… well, this is Gabriel Byrne… From MILLER’S CROSSING to THE USUAL SUSPECTS – he’s an actor I just expect the best from – but he’s a minor character and he just doesn’t have much to work with. Jean, the director, correctly makes the decision to stay, more or less, focused on the folks inside Precinct 13. Those are the characters that we have to build feeling for.

John Leguizamo – Here’s someone that trades quarters for Aztec Gold in films. He takes what little screen time they give him, and he just makes characters that steal scenes. Rips it right out of the hands of the bigger names. Here – you’ll want to slam his stupid face into a pulp from time to time, but… hey, he’s only trying to make a place for himself. I like that. He’s small potatoes dreaming of being fine wine.

I’ve seen the film twice now, and on my last night in Austin before heading to freeze my balls off in Boston, I’m taking a group of friends out to see this one again. We’ll drink a few drinks first… to cut the night’s chill – but in the end, it’s more about why do we go to movies. Do we go to find out what’s wrong or do we go to enjoy the show?

Me, I go for the show, and this folks is the best show opening today!

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 19, 2005, 9:47 a.m. CST

    FIRST !!

    by ATARI

    Feel free to hate me.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 10:10 a.m. CST

    OK, ya sold me, Harry!

    by Roguewriter

    Have been reluctant about this one ever since hearing it was in the works (the original is on my all-time short list of favorite flicks) but it sounds like a good time. Color me there!

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 10:17 a.m. CST

    Harry loved Van Hels(...), Sky Craptain and the Texas Chainsaw C

    by SalvatoreGravano

    Was there any recent awful film that Harry genuinely disliked, apart from that remake of the Punisher?

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 10:32 a.m. CST

    Harry was dead on the money w/ TEXAS CHAIN SAW...

    by Roguewriter

    The depth of horror, the slickly nasty cinematography and the delightfully grubby characters surprised and thrilled me. It was a REAL horror film -- a throwback to the ugly, frightening thrillers of the 1970s -- not like the overly glib, self-referential claptrap that defined too much of horror over the past decade or so. You won't sell me on Harry's flubs if you include that one, Salvatore... it was a winner in my book.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 10:45 a.m. CST

    I may not agree with Harry all the time. But Texas Chainsaw 2003

    by Mr. Profit

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 10:58 a.m. CST


    by AtomicHyperbole

    A remake of the remake of Assault On Precinct 13 - Assault on Playschool 3-6. Seriously... when does Hollywoods fascination with remakes and comic books end... let's get some ORIGINAL FILMS OUT THERE. *checks cinema listings* Hm... OK, I'll shut up.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 10:59 a.m. CST

    by SilentType

    I think this looks awesome myself. Still, I'll always remember, Harry liked SKY CAPTAIN, BLADE 2 and HELLBOY.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Great recent siege movie: Dog Soldiers!

    by Primus

    That was fun

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 11:08 a.m. CST

    King Tut, lighten up bitch!

    by Hunter-X

    A. What does Darth Tader have anything to do with this movie review? B. If you don't like Darth Tader, then don't buy it. C. Quit being a whiny little bitch. D. Assault on Precinct 13 looks pretty kick ass. Thanks for the review Harry.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 11:46 a.m. CST

    I don't know, they can't seem to cut a decent TV ad out of it

    by TheKeenGuy

    The TV ads make it look boring as fuck. The money shot is a helicopter zooming into view about the police station? Ooo!!! I get no sense of a seige taking place.

  • nt

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Yeah I know, irony of ironies, my post wasn't on topic either

    by Lamerz

    ... but this movie looks pretty bad ass. I'm pumped to see it soon. I liked Hawke's Training Day character, but it sounds like he bests that performance in this one. Cool. And Larry is always pretty cool when he is given something decent to work with.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 12:26 p.m. CST

    I agree with knowthyself, but Harry is better than usual this ti

    by Homer Sexual

    About three years ago, I enjoyed reading Harry's reviews. But he has gotten more and more self-indulgent. He still did that this time, with all the blah blah blah John Carpenter blah blah blah, at the beginning, but I think his actual review was pretty decent. But you say he liked Texas Chainsaw 2003? Because I saw that on DVD recently and it was horrible!

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 12:34 p.m. CST

    by Rebeck

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 12:35 p.m. CST

    "Promptly lay a loaf"

    by Rebeck

    Oh Harry - you really do have a way with the English language.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 12:49 p.m. CST

    "Characters you like, die. Actors you love, die." WTF?!?

    by Frisco

    Dang, what kind of flick IS this?

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 1:20 p.m. CST

    Finally, some people who like TCM!

    by BigTuna

    It was a really great remake. Not as good as the original, but a strong, creepy horror film. I can't believe how much it got crapped on. Ebert had it as the worst film of 2003, fuck him.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 1:22 p.m. CST

    Hawke looks 10 years older...

    by BigTuna

    The problem is Training Day came out 3 years ago. Damn he looks like shit.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 1:30 p.m. CST

    They ads make it seem like the sequel to Training Day.

    by Orionsangels

    As if this is what Jake Hoyt went on to do.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 1:38 p.m. CST

    This movie was pretty cool

    by nomad202

    I enjoyed this flick. I didn't even know it was a remake until 10 minutes ago, lol. Nice blend of comedic elements mixed with action. Might have to see it again.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 1:42 p.m. CST

    pure popcorn entertainment

    by Shigeru

    Yes but are these pure entertainment "flicks" worth the MILLIONS of dollars spent making them?? Wouldn't the world be a better place if that money went to Sudan or people that just got fucked in the butt by a tidal wave?? Makes you think. BTW why is Harry going to Boston?? I live in Boston and it was -1 this morning and my nuts literally froze solid and shattered.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 2 p.m. CST

    OK, here's what I don't get about AICN TalkBackers, and feel fre

    by Roguewriter

    You guys love movies. We all love movies. Harry loves movies. As far as I can tell, that love doesn't begin with opening credits and end when the lights come up, but encompasses the whole of movie geekdom -- flicks, scripts, stars, filmmakers, FX, music, action figures, sneaking into R films when you're under age, etc. So why does everyone slam on Harry when he spends a few paragraphs talking about a convo with John Carpenter?! Isn't it cool to hear some of Carpenter's thoughts on the new film and to hear that he's actually critical of his glorious original?! Is it just jealousy that Harry's talking to industry bigwigs? I mean, I don't think Big Red's actually gloatingly lording it over the rest of us groundlings -- he's just sharing the skinny, as we should EXPECT the owner/creator of AICN to do -- hell, we come here to talk and read about MOVIES -- I say gimme the gamut, and that includes the meandering way Harry writes reviews. Don't change a damn thing, Harry -- your detractors really love you, the same as I continue to admire Seal's music even though I'd like to carve some new tattoos into his head for stealing my love goddess, Heidi Klum, from me... =)

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Harry and Sheldrake reading from the same cheat sheet?????

    by nomihs

    Okay, first off nice review. I have wanted to see this since I first heard of it's inception. Now Harry's review had a very similar tone as another AoP13 review that AICN posted. Sheldrake says.... "Ethan Hawke does great work in a mode that is completely different from his Training Day work, even though the role takes place in the same kind of world. In TD he was a rookie learning the ropes. Now imagine that rookie ten years later. " Okay now here is what Harry says..... "However, right from the opening surprise frames of this film, Ethan is creating a 3 Dimensional character. It’s like, his TRAINING DAY character has continued working for a decade or so." So no this makes me wonder if Sheldrake and Harry are reading from the same cliff notes. I know that "ten years" and "a decade" are not the same wording, but even me and my High School diploma can tell you that...Decade = 10 years.... But like the bible, both reviews make for entertaining opinions of a ficticious story.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 3:16 p.m. CST

    ok, to an american who probably cant understand a word of englis

    by satansteve

    i think dog soldiers was balls in the same way lock stock, snatch and trainspotting were, to the point where i believe trainspotting was subtitled over there right? but to us brits who, contrary to the belief, have teeth as bad as every other country, have food as bad as every other country and have weather as bad as any other country and dont spend our days drinking tea and playing cricket but do listen to that talk from time, it was fun in a lock stock meets the werewolf kinda way. it had some good action, some tension, decent fx and gore, was wellmade and more importantly...sean pertwee. now i dont know if sean pertwee is well known in the us, but over here he is about the equivalent of that mexican dude from dusk til dawn who wont serve george clooney in the fact that he is fucking badass, we recognise he is fucking badass, he makes any film hes in instantly better but he hasnt quite made the bigtime yet. hearing cockney and scottish soldiers shooting the shit out of werewolves is still a bloody funny concept, and enjoyed the hell out of this movie and im proud to say i own it. now i apologise if the 'christmas night' guy, i forget his name isnt american, cuz then at least its a little understandable why he doesnt like it, cuz hes american and americans in general hate us brits, but if u are in fact british, then the reason u dont like this film cud be quite simply its not ur style of film, maybe u didnt enjoy films like the 51st state and snatch, or maybe u dont like horror? i dont know. i think dog soldiers isnt balls just becuz u dont like it. now ive finished about dog soldiers, ill move on to my real point. >>>>>> thats wot pisses me off about this site, that people think just becuz they say a movie sucks, it sucks. at least if they say 'in my opinion' then it doesnt feel like im having some kind of bullshit shoved down my throat by some high and mighty fuck with a superiority complex, sat at a computer in his parents basement with a cheeseburger and a warhammer set to his right who thinks just because he doesnt like a movie, it must be destroyed and the filmmakers burned at the stake whilst having hamsters inserted into their bodies through small incisions in their stomachs. to all these people: go to fucking hell and send us a fucking postcard, im sick to death of all u fucking people like ive just described, and im sick to death of u hacks bashing harry for loving movies and wanting as much to do with movies as possible. we all have our own opinions but on here, people are blasted for having an opinion on a movie that is the complete opposite of your own. welcome to the free world dickheads! we didnt fight hitler just so we can all have the same opinion about everything, thats what young girls and boybands are for. for instance, i saw the 2000 godzilla opening weekend when i was 12 and guess what? as a 12 yr old i loved it, and as a 20 yr old, i still enjoy it, much more than the japanese movies which i find just a little bit laughable and power rangers-ey. do i give a fuck if godzilla is cg or a man in a rubber suit smashing models? no i dont give a god damn. do i love star wars? yes i do. have i loved star wars since i was 4? yes i have? do i like the prequels? yes i do. attack of the clones is just below empire in my book, it kicks ass. i hear someone shouting from the back "but if u like the prequels then u cant love star wars". i say to you people: kiss my ass. just because the prequels arent precisely up to scratch of the awesome empire strikes back, or quite up to scratch with all ur impossible talents at filmmaking which, last time i checked have not been used doesnt mean they're neccessarily awful movies. ok, episode one wasnt exactly what we'd been hoping for, and id like to throttle jar jar with that tongue of his, but i still watch it on occasion and i have a good time doing so. so until u produce the finest star wars movie of all time, sit the fuck down and shut ur fucking mouths. those of us who actually enjoy the prequels will always have that little bit more of the story than you who claimed that george lucas raped ur childhoods...whatever the hell thats meant to mean. i know ive gone on a bit, and im sorry but ive been bedridden with several illnesses since friday with a not a whole lot of people to talk to and needed to vent some frustration. just think of other people and stop bashing harry for knowing people in the biz that u wish in ur wildest wet dreams u cud kiss their feet. if it werent for harry, no news wud be cool. does rooting for harry make me a plant? im not sure.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 4:04 p.m. CST

    Hey SSteve, Trainspotting has NEVER been subtitled in the US...

    by Doom II

    I HAD to clear that one up immediately. I saw Trainspotting in the theater the week it was released here ('96 I believe) and it was untouched. It's actually one of my favorite films. Lock, Stock was OK, but far from a masterpiece. Trainspotting would qualify as a masterpiece. Guy Ritchie's biggest accomplishment so far has been marrying Madonna (after 1,000 other guys already used that psycho tramp up).

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 4:53 p.m. CST

    u don't even mention laurence F?

    by ZO

    what the heck?

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 5:13 p.m. CST

    ok, i made a mistake...

    by satansteve

    read in an interview with ewan mcgregor aaaaaaaaaaaaages ago that it had to be subtitled in some parts of the US.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 5:15 p.m. CST

    i wouldnt go as far as calling trainspotting a masterpiece...

    by satansteve

    but it is a damn fine movie. ill agree lock stock isnt amazing, but still highly entertaining, but snatch is fucking brilliant. i love it.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Assault on Precinct 13

    by Scrnriter

    I definitely think that this film is worth seeing. it was a great remake, very suspenseful. i was on edge the entire movie.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 5:53 p.m. CST

    John Carpenter has no business talking about other directors tec

    by Monkeybrains

    Especially since it's been nearly TWENTY FUCKING YEARS since he's made a movie that has not been a piece of corn filled diarrhea

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 6:18 p.m. CST

    Wow, finally Harry writes a review that is actually what the cri

    by screenplaywriter

    Amazing, here I thought he was being a biased dumbass still who thought he knew about cinema, movies, and how to enjoy movies, but unfortunately he's proven me wrong. Bravo Harry! You've proven that you like good films, not films like "VAN HELSING" or "ALEXANDER" which enormously you praised and blessed as if it were a pagan idol.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 6:37 p.m. CST


    by UncleSam

    INFERIOR TO THE ORIGINAL! It probably would've been a better picture if they didn't call it Assult on Precinct 13. The original had more bite, intensity, and overall more thrilling than this remake. The elements they tried to copy off the original were just gimmicks and didn't add any energy to the story. I especially hated the point in the story where it was time to make the decision to give guns to the criminals. The original version had buildup and and an exciting payoff. This version of the remake just sucked! It should've just had no relation to the original movie and they wouldn't have been handicapped by trying to fit in familar elements.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 6:49 p.m. CST

    I just read some of the posters' reviews. Some advice to those w

    by UncleSam

    You can either not bother watching it at all or wait to watch the original after seeing this one first. You will see how superior the original is with its low budget. The bigger budget did nothing to help this movie. Also the original had more interesting characters.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 7:15 p.m. CST

    who gives a shit

    by Dr Farragammo

    I'm sure this film will be watchable in the same way "The Negotiator" was watchable, in that it doesn't make you want to punch out the director but you forget it the next day. My problem with what I've seen from the trailers is the mood is all wrong. Carpenter's film is a classic because it's a perfect mix of "Rio Bravo" and "Night of The Living Dead." It's a cop movie with horror overtones. The gang members don't talk and it's eerie and strange.This just doesn't seem like a worthy remake. And BTW QUIT WITH THE FUCKING REMAKES!!! Seriously, is there a original idea in Hollywood anymore?!? Willy Wonka, Manchurian candidate,TCM, and on and on it's a waste of effort. The only good remakes in the past 25 years have been The Thing (ironic huh?),Dawn of The Dead (no classic but a really cool remake) and Cape Fear.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 8:38 p.m. CST

    Here's an early review from a local paper that says it "fails mi

    by FrankDrebin

    "What happens when some untalented dildo-heads think they can improve on perfection? Assault on Precinct 13, that's what! In the most inept case of "reimaginitive filmmaking" since Texas Chainsaw Massacre, director Jean-Fran

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 9:08 p.m. CST

    Early Frontrunner for Worst Film of 2005

    by McSatan666

    I was able to find some redeeming qualities in the Dawn of the Dead and Texas Chainsaw remakes. So I'm not coming at this like some kind of purist, who can't deal with anything but Carpenter's original version. I'd even go as far as to say that Precinct 13 was ripe for a remake - there's lots of room for improvement there. That said, this film is a steaming pile of shit - the kind of stupid, stupid picture that makes you wish you'd never wasted good money sitting though it. How Harry can piss on flicks like The Punisher or Blade: Trinity and give this a pass, I can't fathom. Ethan Hawke's cop character is supposed to be struggling with guilt, when in reality his every action in the film defines his character as a fucking idiot. That's really the "issue" he's having - nothing he does from beginning to end makes one goddamn lick of sense. There were plenty of logic issues with the original Precinct 13 - like I said, room for improvement - but this film by and for dummies throws moronic situation after moronic situation on top of one another until you're literally left pressing the palms of your hands into your temples as hard as you can just to make the pain go away. Worthy of the Jan De Bont stamp of quality - that's what we have here with Precinct 2005.

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 9:39 p.m. CST

    "Joey"'s Drea De Matteo

    by capt jack aubrey

    Wow, Drea De Matteo from "Joey" is GOOD in this? Really? That's hard to believe -- if only there had been some prior sign of her potential talent... I don't know, like an Emmy win or sumthin... sometimes Harry's adversion to watching TV shows does bite him in the arse -- Adriana La Cerva's final minutes on Earth were just about the most powerful, devastating scenes on television last year... but as long as she's just now overcoming that "Joey" stigma... sheesh...

  • Jan. 19, 2005, 10:01 p.m. CST

    Just got back from seeing it

    by BillEmic

    Okay, this movie is decent - but nowhere near the level of what Harry is hyping it. It's vastly inferior to the original (as you probably already knew). It's violent at times but violent, not full of action. The opening scene is basically a straight up rip off of "Narc" but it works. Harry is acting like *everyone* will love this and should see it but I'm sure a lot of Carpenter purists will loathe this movie. I'm a huge Carpenter fan and I tolerated it, enjoyed it at times, but it's not the "adult action film" that AICN is plugging it as. If this is truly considered "adult" I'm slightly embarrassed because much of the dialogue is immature and groan-worthy. Michael Mann delivered "adult action" with Collateral. Make sure you read some less biased reviews before you plunk down $8 to see this.

  • Jan. 20, 2005, 1:25 a.m. CST

    The problem with this flick was:

    by Dented Helmet

    There weren't any objectives for the characters involved. Their only purpose was to survive one half-assed wave of idiot attackers after another, so there's no forward momentum. I kept waiting for the movie to move on to the next 'phase' but it never took it to the next level. It seemed content to stay in 2nd gear.

  • Jan. 20, 2005, 5:57 a.m. CST


    by ScaryJim

    i know - if you are worried about it being shite or you can't afford to waste your money seeing what might be bad, don't see it!

  • Jan. 20, 2005, 8 a.m. CST

    RE: Hawke - "You see the mileage on his face."

    by Mel Garga

    You call it mileage. I call it spending your thirties face down in a mirror. Remember, this guy did shoot a movie with River Phoenix. And speaking of that, how about a sequel to "The Explorers."

  • Jan. 20, 2005, 8:21 a.m. CST

    I never liked the original...

    by Yo Yo Man

    ...The bad guys might as well have been zombies, since they all shared the same focused, yet completely unhurried personality. At least in Rio Bravo the villains were fairly rounded characters. As were the heroes. Plus I thought the script, acting and direction were pretty poor. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a John Carpenter movie that I liked. He's entertaining in interviews, though, obviously a cool guy. I think this new version might be all right. I agree there are too many remakes coming out these days (Hooray! An American version of Taxi!), but if we outlawed remakes, we'd have no Heat, no Vanilla Sky, no Ocean's Eleven, no The Thin Red Line, and arguably no From Dusk Till Dawn, all of which I liked. Still, there's a sense of dread when you walk out of a movie like OldBoy or Intacto and you know that, in a few years, there's going to be a For Dummies version for those who want to be told the story but can't be bothered reading subtitles, the tits.

  • Jan. 20, 2005, 11:29 a.m. CST

    Night of the Living Dead, yes

    by 9000rpm

    AOP13-2 is just okay, worth renting maybe. The big problem is how the new story changes the nature of the bad guys. As FrankDrebin mentioned, the original bad guys were a fusion of Charles Manson-like crazies and Night of the Living dead zombies. You accepted that they could do something as improbable as besiging a police station. In the new version, the assault results from 33 police officers trying to cover up their corruption. Ridiculous. Obviously the 33 were going to take a fair number of casualties. Was the Detroit Police Department not going to notice 10-15 officers not showing up for work the next day? Wouldn't their corruption have come out in the subsequent investigation? The new version doesn't rise above mediocre because the basic premise is just too preposterous.

  • Jan. 20, 2005, 3:12 p.m. CST

    The movie looks good, but......

    by CyberBeavis1326

    Goddamnit Harry, make some sense when writing a review. Where did you get your journalism skill, from a crack addicted talking mule???? If you liked the movie say so, and tell us why, and give some plot. Don't rant about some shitty b-movie you jacked off to at age 12. Plus what the fuck does this movie have in common with those Barbarian type movies, nothing. You're reviewing a gritty action movie, not a Conan the sord wielding psycho movie. Get your fat ass shit together, then type, and stop ranting about retarded shit. We want reviews, not endless metaphors and life stories that don't make sense to the movie you're reviewing.

  • Nope. Now if it were 10-15 mayoral bodyguards..

  • Jan. 20, 2005, 7:43 p.m. CST


    by Kingdaddy

    Wasn't going to see this until the reviews on this site...unfortunately, I don't concur. A couple of cool scenes and some nice harsh moments, but it really is just one big cliche. The Smiley character needs to have his nuts clipped off and mouth sewn shut in the first scene he shows up in - what a douche. But every supporting character in this is a useless mold of stereotypes. Anyone else notice that the snipers only hit when it was convenient for the plot? And if I saw one more freakin' bullet wound in someone's forehead I was gonna throw my drink at the screen. Buncha goons in the audience jacked off to the whole movie though...only go if YOU think it looks good.

  • Jan. 21, 2005, 5:01 p.m. CST

    No remakes, no Vanilla Sky?

    by JimboLo

    Oh no!

  • Jan. 22, 2005, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Amazing... so many movies to choose from

    by Huffy_Henry

    And Harry reviews this reheated garbage. That's it... I'm not visiting this site anymore.

  • Jan. 22, 2005, 3:36 p.m. CST

    mrfantastico, hilarious and true. And the movie sucks, don't was

    by negasonic

    The first ten minutes have a dirty, dangerous, Amores Perros vibe going on, and Hawke's actually putting in a performance. The rest of the movie is just stagey and fake, and Hawke reverts to his flaccid, whiny-genX-guy-trying-to-seem-tough routine. The kind of movie where one minute the characters are yelling, "Get away from the windows!" and the next they're standing around in front of the windows. The kind of movie where the characters feel free to stop covering the doors at any time the screenwriter feels they need to sit down and have a heart-to-heart about how their dog died when they were six. The kind of movie where the main character is so unconvincing, the filmmakers actually make sure to have his PSYCHIATRIST on hand to explain that he's a broken shell of his former self. Dialogue that's aggressively trying to remind you that you're only watching a movie. At no time did I not think, this is Ethan Hawke and Lawrence Fishburne standing around in a studio looking kind of bored. Harry is right though, the photography was beautiful.

  • Jan. 22, 2005, 3:59 p.m. CST

    Wait, I'm not done, I'm having fun now...

    by negasonic

    Okay, so the cops let the jailed criminals go and tell them to pick out weapons from the impound room. They all pick out guns, right? Of course not. One guy picks out a baseball bat. One picks a samurai sword. One picks out a fucking tommy gun (I guess they haven't impounded anything since the 1930's). Lawrence fishburne fills a bottle with gasoline, and later when he's standing face to face with a commando he throws it, and or course it neutralizes the commando without him filling Fishburne's silly ass with lead. Oh, and the sound design. The sound design was cool.

  • Jan. 22, 2005, 4:23 p.m. CST

    I watched both the remake and the original back 2 back yesterday

    by Tall_Boy

    the original has serious pacing issues and some of the action gets outright silly (esp. with all the guys getting blown away, at least it happens in a snowstorm in this one. And "they moved the bodies" part in the original was pretty silly. It seemed too horror movie-ish). But the original had some better characters and dialouge and it had the black guy as the cop and the white guy as the crook. This one, the roles are reversed, sad that a flick from the 70s seemed more racically progressive. But the remake was one slick ass mofo of a movie. Carpenter's flick can't really overcome its budget at times, this one was nicely paced and had harder hitting action sequences (and nothing like that dangblasted nightof the living dead Zombieish climax of the original). Still, the original had grit and character, this one has pizazz, action and coolness. Take a bit from both, but I think they're both pretty good in thier own special little way.

  • Jan. 27, 2005, 9:10 a.m. CST

    The last two movies I saw were "White Noise" and "Ass on Prcnt 1

    by Drunken Rage

  • Feb. 5, 2005, 8:04 a.m. CST


    by abesapien

    Just saw AOP 13 the other day. The flik kicked so much ass. I knew this film was gonna be good going in from the reviews I read but I was surpirised to see it was better than good. The film was so smart, edgy and stylish it gave me goose bumps. U can clearly see all the love and thought that has gone in to this baby. I thought it was great from a remake standpoint too- it certainly maintained the spirit of the original. All the actors were great- Hawke was fantastic- but the real stand out for me is Fishburne- I love the way he plays his character- smart, cool and totally bad ass- the man just simmers. I left the film with a feeling that reminded me of why I love movies so much. Sometimes you watch a movie and think this is a great film but sometimes you watch a flik thinking someone must've had you in mind when they made the flik. For me this movie is definitely in the latter category.

  • Feb. 12, 2005, 8:58 a.m. CST


    by Quintus_Arrius

    Indeed... Hail!

  • April 2, 2005, 4:41 a.m. CST

    This movie was shite,

    by Conan_the_Humble

    The entire premise was ridiculous. How did the bad guys think they'd ever get away with it? Do Detroit gangs normally storm police stations using G-36 Assault rifles and throwing Flash-Bangs everywhere? I seriously doubt it, and that SWAT team was the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. Why do they only ever attempt to breach 1 entry point at a time in this? Cause the movie would've been over in about 15 minutes, if a "real" co-ordinated assault by a SWAT team had taken place. Even the start was pathetic. Do covert police officers in the USA really get selected from officer's who have testified in high profile cases. I certainly hope not, for the Covert's sake. I had a lot of problems with this film , particularly the lack of logic involved. If the writers can't write their way around these things in an intelligent way they should quit. Cheers. I haven't seen