Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) - Restored Collector's Edition

Genre(s): Action / Thriller
Image Entertainment || R - 91 minutes - $19.98 || February 3, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-02-26


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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

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: John Carpenter
Writer(s): John Carpenter (written by)
Cast: Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, Laurie Zimmer, Martin West, Tony Burton, Nancy Kyes


Theatrical Release Date: November 5, 1976


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Interview
  • Still Gallery
  • Radio Spots
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Isolated Score


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital Mono)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Let me be the first person to say that I loathe old films. If the movie wasnít made after the year 1998 odds are Iíve never even heard of it. The only reason I know about Assault on Precinct 13 was because they remade it (which I happened to enjoy) into an amazing film but sadly the original just didnít click with me.

So this movie jumps around from place to place, but the main idea is that a police station that is being shut down is forced to have a few convicts stay there because they fall ill of some random disease. Yes, it turns out the convicts are faking it as they are getting busted out (I think, I wasnít that sure of the plot to begin with) by some of their friends. Elsewhere a man and his daughter are in a ďbadĒ section of town using a payphone when the girl wants ice cream from the nearby truck. She begs and begs for the ice cream, and after a few minutes the father agrees and sends her there.

While purchasing the ice cream the vendor is in debt to some of the local gangs in town and is shot to death for not paying them enough, but the girl walks up to and says the ice cream cone was the wrong flavor and she is shot as well. The father, still oblivious to gun shots, wonders where his daughter is but finds her as she dies in his arms. The father sets out to kill the gunmen who did this to his daughter, and does so successfully.

However he ends up being chased and runs to the police station, shaken and stirred and canít mutter what happened. The gang follows him there, which turns out to be hundreds of people and they cut off power and phone capabilities to the station. There are only a handful of people at the station since its being shut down, so they are forced to fend for themselves. Can they make it through the night against hundreds of people?

I didnít enjoy this film at all, it literally took about forty-five minutes to get any action, and I know it was 1970ís when this was shot but it just didnít happen for me. I found it to be rather drudging and boring, I think John Carpenter is a great director, but this film was just lackluster and didnít go anywhere. The ending was also unsatisfying, as was the clarity of why the gang was there and how they managed to get that big and come together that soon to attack the station.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Audio Commentary by John Carpenter: A rather dull commentary, as Carpenter mentions no less than twenty times about how slow the movie is. Yes, trust me I know after watching it. He also talks about the limited budget and how hard it was to shoot the film.

John Carpenterís Isolated Score: Exactly what it sounds like. Iím not exactly sure why this is on here though.

Radio Spots (1 minute): Radio spots for the film as promotions. I guess this is for nostalgic sake.

Production Gallery (17 minutes): This deals with the script and the shooting of the film. I didnít really enjoy this feature, as though I didnít like the movie, but if you did then this is the feature for you.

Interview with John Carpenter and Austin Stoker (23 minutes): An interview with the two that were just mentioned. I found it to be tedious and not that exciting, but thatís just me.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The video for an older film should look somewhat restored, but this one just doesnít. Colors are bleak and dreary as are the flesh tones for the cast. The dark scenes are almost impossible to make out towards the ending of the film, and contrast becomes an issue (as I just described) throughout. Thereís not an abundant amount of grain, I donít remember seeing that much, but the overall presentation isnít a great one.

Of the 3 available audio options, I chose the Dolby Digital 5.1 track and I was severely disappointed. Surround was rarely used and bullets sounded fairly dull. I donít think that my sub woofer even turned on until about halfway through the film. Once again, I know this is an older movie, but the sound doesnít appear to be restored, as even a mono track would sound just the same as the Dolby Digital 5.1 in my opinion.



.::OVERALL::.

I know it may be a classic to some, but Assault on Precinct 13 for me just didnít click, I much more preferred the remake that was from a few years ago. The film literally takes an hour or so to even get to any action, and even then itís pretty slow. The audio and video are well below average for a DVD release and the special features are really only for fans. Unless you just have to have this to complete your collection, pass on it. This is one assault you can miss.