Director: Jean-François Richet
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne,
Maria Bello, John Leguizamo, Drea de Matteo
RunTime: 1 hr 45 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: NC-16 (Violence & Coarse Language)
Date: 3 March 2005
only a few hours left in the calendar year, Precinct 13, one
of Detroit’s oldest precinct houses, is closing. Amid
heavy snowfall and unsafe road conditions, only a few lawmen
remain on duty for New Year’s Eve. They are headed by
Sergeant Jake Roenick (Ethan Hawke), a good cop wrestling
with bad memories of a fatal undercover op from the previous
spring. Roenick and Precinct 13 have both seen better days.
Early on December 31st, deep in the city, formidable crime
lord Marion Bishop (Laurence Fishburne), is cornered by an
undercover cop. Their ensuing struggle leaves the cop dead
– and Bishop captured, by the Organized Crime and Racketeering
squad that Marcus Duvall (Gabriel Byrne) runs. Bishop is handcuffed
and herded onto a prison bus with several criminals: junkie
Beck (John Leguizamo), hustler Smiley (Jeffrey “Ja Rule”
Atkins), and gang member Anna (Aisha Hinds). But the battering
snowstorm stops the bus well short of its high-security destination
and strands it at the remote Precinct 13 – where, as
night falls, the prisoners are temporarily incarcerated. This
influx of prisoners irks Roenick, almost as much as visiting
police psychologist Alex Sabian (Maria Bello) does. But Precinct
13’s provocative secretary Iris Ferry (Drea de Matteo)
and salty veteran cop Jasper “Old School” O’Shea
(Brian Dennehy) won’t let the increasing workload deter
them from celebrating…
two masked gunmen break in and attack the guards from the
bus. The gunmen are just barely beaten back, and everyone
inside Precinct 13 realizes that more will come – to
extract crime lord Bishop, but also armed and ready to shoot
anyone and everyone else. The cops, looking to the reluctant
Roenick for leadership, and the cons, looking to the steely
Bishop for an angle, must join forces to live. Fortifying
themselves with minimal weaponry and maximum courage, they
will not go gently into the bad night. As they fight to the
death, the thin lines between good and bad bleed together.
know “Assault on Precinct 13” is going to be downright
gritty, dirty and bloody when the movie opens with police
sergeant Jake Roenick (the multi-talented Ethan Hawke) on
a botched undercover mission. Within minutes and an attention
grabbing opening, you find Jack on a desk job at the soon
to be closed Precinct 13 eight months later.
good shootout movie can’t work without a villain, right?
In comes crime lord Bishop (played by the compelling Laurence
Fishburne who has piled up a couple of kilos since “The
Matrix” trilogy) who was captured after killing a cop.
Shortly after, he’s sent along with three other small-time
crooks on a bus to the prison. AP13’s pacing is pretty
swift, things start to move into fourth gear when the group
of police and crooks are stuck in Precinct 13 during the heavy
snowstorm and masked gunmen appeared to confront the gang.
twist is the supposed masked gunmen are no ordinary criminals,
they are in fact a team of elite force from the police led
by Marcus Duvall (Gabriel Bryne) who has hooked up with Bishop
for the past ten years splitting dirty money between themselves.
Now Duvall and team have only one thing in mind: Silence Bishop
and those who knew the corruption.
trapped inside the building with all forms of communication
cutoff, the cops have to join hands with the crooks to fight
against the intruders. Director
Jean-Francois Richet (who helmed from France) and screenwriter
James DeMonaco succeeds in creating the tension during the
siege and the gun fires are commendable for it’s brutalness,
realism which is why it’s rated NC-16. But of course
you have to discard the unbelievable idea whereby a group
of elite SWAT members armed with the most sophisticated weaponry
ever found in the world today can be defeated by a few pistols
and alcohols. Besides this point however, Richet failed to
further exploit the limited compounds of Precinct 13 instead
ending the chapter in the forest area which is supposedly
near the station. It would be a better standoff if both parties
were able to fight themselves out on the station itself.
Hawke who was seen as a rookie in “Training Day”
is convincing enough as the despondent Roenick, trying to
put his life back on track. Seeing Hawke and Fishburne pitting
against each other and joining hands simultaneously is a pleasure.
Gabriel Bryne is wasted as the good “bad” guy.
Spouting countable dialogue and screentime, Bryne is reduced
to a cardboard villain. The rest of the supporting cast liked
John Leguizamo, Maria Bello and Drea de Matteo has also tried
their best given their limited roles.
not a must know to walk into the theater with knowledge that
AP13 is actually a remake of an old John Carpenter’s
movie. There is nothing extraordinary about the plotting.
Just buy your admit ticket if you wish to see a good old intense
shoot out movie with some neat twists towards the end.
Review by Linus.T.