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I want to live; as opposed to I don't want to die. – Jake Roenick
Another remake I missed out on last year on purpose
(I opted to see Carpenter’s original for the first time instead)
and another film I was urged to check out by all my ball
breaking, testosterone driven buddies. “Come on man you got to see it, it owns!”
“Come on bro, I’ll lend you my DVD, you don’t even have to pay for it!” ALL RIGHT! I SAW IT NOW! STEP OFF!
Yes, like the bitch that I am, I broke, slapped the damn flick in my DVD player and… startlingly enough… had a cross firing blast on my big comfy couch with it. I didn’t see that one coming! Whilst John Carpenter’s cult classic took elements from Rio Bravo and Night of the Living Dead to offer up an interesting concoction of genre bending B Movie Awesomeness; this remake took one aspect and sprinted with it as far as it could within a similar narrative structure; its action. Although the result was not as compelling for me as Carpenter’s more novel and horror inclined approach to the material, that’s not to say that this remake wasn’t without merits. In fact, as a pure bread, adrenaline laced action movie it “ra-ta-tated” the goods in spades and then some!
All of the kool action movie bases were heavily covered here! Grungy yet likeable leads? Check! Ethan Hawke was the hombre as the burned out cop while Lawrence Fishburne was so effortlessly hypnotizing. Talk about kook cat presence! What about a memorable villain? We got that too? Although shamefully underwritten, the mere sight of THE BYRNE made it happen! That’s Gabriel Byrne to you bub! The man didn’t do much but his edgy “show up” was much appreciated by this jerk. Next down the list of macho goodness: a truck load of guns. If like me you get-off on artillery like other dudes get-off on cars; then you’ll be climbing the pole to the top here. Hand guns, sniper rifles, lazer sightings, silencers…we get the works on this quick fix pizza and I relished every spent cartridge! And it should be said that the gorgeously shot snowy setting that all the bang-bang took place in added pizzazz to the carnage. I actually got flashbacks of playing Rainbow Six while watching this film…yes that’s a huge compliment.
On narrative standpoint; the flick played it economical and to the point. A slick set up, an explosive middle section and a grab by the balls conclusion. Serviceable? Yup. Could’ve been more? Sure. Worked moderately well anyways? You bet your neighbors’ ass! You won’t get bored during this ride that’s for sure! I particularly grooved to the scripts honesty with itself as it had no qualm in killing off likeable characters (That I thought would live), offering up flawed heroes or revealing a traitor whilst following logic as opposed to “audience pleasing” zero sense moves. I truly respected that jive; it’s called integrity! Tag to all a zippy pace, trick loads of enthralling shootouts/situations, flashy directing that will keep you tweaked up, astounding cinematography and brilliant sound design and you get a solid action bash that should please the POW-WOW junkies of the world.
Any dead loads? Well it is a remake so it begged to be compared to the more uniquely tackled original but that’s just me yapping thin air at ya. And thanks God for the Grade A cast who elevated their mostly thinly written characters and made them shine with humanity, hence making them people to care for. Furthermore, I would’ve liked to have seen the relationships of the oppressed trapped inside the precinct focused upon a bit more. There was some good stuff there, should’ve of capitalized on it further. And why was THE BYRNE hardly in the movie? An actor of his caliber should be over-used not under- used. Bow your head in shame Mr. Filmmaker. Lastly, a couple of plot holes and conveniences did grate me; with the sudden realization that there’s a “tunnel” under the compound getting to me the most. Hey genius! How about letting the group know about that freaking underground passageway 10 minutes into the attack? Oh I get it! It wouldn’t have served the plot if you had done that? F*ck you then!
When all was said and shot in the forehead heartlessly, Assault on Precinct 13 2005 resulted in a sugary slice of well crafted, seat of your pants and guns blazing, action pie. You have the right to remain silent on this one or go out with a bang! Pick a course of action convict!