Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)

Genre(s): Action / Thriller
Rogue Pictures || R - 109 minutes - $14.98 || May 10, 2005
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2005-05-12


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director:
Writer(s): John Carpenter (1976 screenplay), James DeMonaco (screenplay)
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne, John Leguizamo, Maria Bello, Ja Rule, Drea de Matteo, Brian Dennehy, Gabriel Byrne


Theatrical Release Date: January 19, 2005


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director & Producer Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Armed and Dangerous - Featurette
  • Behind Precinct Walls - Featurette
  • Plan of Attack - Featurette
  • The Assault Team - Featurette
  • Behind the Scenes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Assault on Precinct 13, action-adventurer starring Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne, is a surprisingly good thriller that despite some decent reviews it left theaters as quick as it came.

The story is about down-and-out cop Jake Roenick (Hawke) who blames himself after an undercover sting gone bad leaves two of his crew dead. Since he no longer has the stomach to go back on the street, he is assigned to man a defunct police station on New Years Eve as it will soon be torn down. On the grave shift is Iris Ferry (Matteo; "The Sopranos") and Jasper O'Shea (Dennehy) along with Roenick's psychiatrist Alex Sabian (Bello) whose car breaks down on the way from her session. A group of prisoners including Beck (Leguizamo), Smiley (Ja Rule), Anna (Aisha Hinds) and mobster and accused cop killer, Marion Bishop (Fishburne). The bus they were on is forced to stop at Precinct 13 after their path is blocked due to a wreck during a snow storm. Make a long story short, an assault team of rogue cops, led by Marcus Duvall (Byrne), who want to retrieve Mr. Bishop to stop him from testifying against Duvall and his men.

I had low expectations from Assault so I didn't bother going to see it in the theater and although the plot is a bit on the shallow or flat side, I enjoyed the film for the action-thriller it's supposed to be. Now, it does follow the typical formula where you have several characters (enough to showcase interesting, and bloody, ways someone can die) so don't watch this if you're looking for some high brow action film (it's not even on the same level as some comparable films like Die Hard 2). But, in the end, I liked it... it's worth at least a rental.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

For a film that only grossed a mere $20 million, has a good amount of special features.

Armed and Dangerous is a four plus minute featurette where the weapons tech guides the viewers showing us the guns used in the film. He also explains that the director wanted the commando guys to have top of the line weapons while the people inside have a variety of weapons (like a Tommygun). He shows Fishburne and Hawke's pieces and explains why the type of gun was used for that character. Not exactly enthralling material and it is a bit worthless...

Behind Precinct Walls is another tour, this time the production designer guides the viewer from set to set showing what is real, what is not, etc. Much like "Armed and Dangerous", this seven and a half minute featurette (I can't believe it lasted that long either) isn't all that great, but it's a little more interesting to watch.

Plan of Attack showcases the stunts from the film and has some more clips from the movie, interviews with the stunt coordinator, and shows what it takes to put an action-driven film together. More throw-away material...

The Assault Team has interviews with director Richet, screenwriter DeMonaco and producer Silver. There's some of the regular hyping up of the film, explaining the plot and such but they also address the issue that Richet is French whose English is limited.

The commentary from director Richet, screenwriter DeMonaco and producer Jeffrey Silver is standard fare as far as commentary tracks are concerned. At best the three guys thankfully avoid too much butt kissing but unfortunately Richet's lack of English skills becomes distracting and none of them really go into deep detail about the cast and such (though they did mention how Maria Bello had to fly between Toronto and Portland [Oregon] as she was also starring in another film).Could be worse, they could have left off the track completely.

The disc also includes 5 deleted scenes that actually were fairly entertaining and with the exception of one or two of them, they might've been fine if left in the final cut; though the director admits (in the optional commentary) that one scene where Gabriel Byrne's kills one of his own men made the character look crazy... Well, I personally didn't think so.

The final feature, Caught in the Crosshairs, is merely the standard behind the scenes featurette with interviews with the cast and crew.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Assault on Precinct 13 has not only Dolby Digital 5.1 but the outstanding DTS mix that blows DD away by a mile. When I began watching the film I found the dialogue to be a bit too quiet and the action too toned down, which was perplexing as I have DTS set as my default setting... which did not happen this time and I turned it on in the middle of the film. Now, the Dolby Digital mix is OK and satisfactory for those who don't have a DTS decoder.



.::OVERALL::.

Since Assault on Precinct 13 wasn't a big box office hit, it was surprising to find the amount of special features, no matter how bland they are. However, this isn't a film you will rent or buy for the movie, not the features. I found the movie itself to have some good, though shallow, entertainment value and worth a viewing on a slow Friday night.