“An action packed thriller that outdoes the original version!!”

Last year, in 2004, a good portion of the movies that were released were what I like to call “safe movies.” Safe movies are movies that are very low in brutal violence and strong language. Most of the movies in 2004 were family movies. Not that there’s anything wrong with family movies, but it’s good to see a movie every now and then that can pack a punch, a movie that can actually raise your heartbeat a little.

“Assault On Precinct 13” is far from a “safe movie.” It is pretty much entirely opposite. But it is an excellent movie that director Jean-Francois Richet did a fine job of making.

Jake Roenick (Ethan Hawke) is a sergeant at Precinct 13. He was once an undercover agent, but quit after his two friends died on a mission. He now runs the old, beaten up Precinct 13. Also running the Precinct with him is an old veteran named Jasper O’Shea (Brian Dennehy) and a beautiful secretary named Iris (Drea DeMatteo).

On New Year’s Eve, the night that Precinct 13 is supposed to close forever, a group of cops form Precinct 21 stop at Precinct 13 to drop off a group of criminals. Among the criminals is the cop killer, Marion Bishop. As soon as you see Bishop’s cold eyes and expressionless face, you can tell he is a killer.

As the clock strikes 12 at Precinct 13, and New Year’s comes upon Roenick and the rest of the cops, an enormous group of people began to open fire and attack the Precinct. Roenick and the others immediately assume that it’s Bishop’s crew coming to break him out. But after Roenick discovers the identity of one of them, he realizes that they’re up against an enemy that won’t give up until Bishop is dead.

The original movie, written by John Carpenter and acted out by a bunch of unknowns, was good, but not great. It just didn’t contain the starpower and action that made a good thriller. But, in this 2005 remake, Jean-Francois Richet brings new life to Carpenter’s movie.

Ethan Hawke, who has seemed to be on a hot streak over the past year and a half, once again strikes gold as Jake Roenick. Laurence Fishburne, as Marion Bishop, delivers a great performance. He was very good as a good guy in the Matrix series, but he can be just as convincing as a villain. As for the rest of the cast, I thought that it was average. Iwish I could’ve seen a little bit more of Brian Dennehy. He’s a great actor who deserved more screen time than he got.

One thing that made this movie so great was the basic theme. It consisted of the good guys teaming up with the bad guys. It was very interesting to see how they got along when the moment was right. I think that the emotion in this remake is what makes it so much better then the original. OVERALL GRADE – A-


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