ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


Jean-François Richet's pointless remake of John Carpenter's lean, mean 1976 thriller has bigger explosions, grislier deaths and a stunningly dumb premise. It's the same set-up: the last night in an isolated police station where a couple weary cops and some criminals in transit come under intense fire from the outside. Where Carpenter had gangs attacking, this update has deadbeat cop Ethan Hawke and his unlikely ally, cop-killer Laurence Fishburne, holding off a band of rogue cops, led by Gabriel Byrne. It's a bizarre cop-on-cop over-kill -- helicopters, missiles, night-vision assault troops -- that goes utterly unnoticed in the center of Detroit (no city is that deserted). There's an idiotic reason proffered why a large contingent of bad cops would engage in wholesale slaughter on civilians and their brethren, but mostly I noted how very cynical we've become about urban police.