"Assault on Precinct 13"
Directed by Jean-Francois Richet.
Written by James DeMonaco. Based on the 1976 screenplay by
Starring Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne, Maria Bello and Gabriel
Release Year: 2005
Review Date: 1/25/05
Mike "Yac" Iacovone and I have had a great
run of seeing unbelievably bad films together since I moved back to
DC from San Francisco. Convinced that we had another Hard Vice
on our hands, Yac and I knew we had to see "Assault on Precinct 13"
together, because what's better than seeing fucking horseshit with a
After a solid intro, "Assault on Precinct
13" (based on the cult B-movie classic by John Carpenter) turns into
a mindless action film. We have a cop on the edge (Ethan
Hawke, doing the producers that gave him the
"Training Day" gig a
favor by appearing in this film) that is recovering from the deaths
of two teammates by going on extended drug and alcohol binges.
On New Year's Eve, this cop--named Roenick--is working his final
night at Detroit's Thirteenth Precinct office when a storm hits and
he is forced to watch over a famous criminal named
Desolation...wait, Bishop (Laurence Fishburne), until morning.
Problem is, a bunch of dirty cops, led by Duvall (Gabriel Byrne),
are outside of the precinct, waiting to storm the damned place,
because they need Bishop for another reason altogether.
Again, the first five minutes of the film
are solid. Everything after the opening credits are dogshit.
Where do I even begin?
Drea de Matteo looks plain fucking awful.
I looked over at Yac at one point, and he was visibly cringing every
time de Matteo came onscreen. What else has she been in?
Man, she looked awful. It was the kind of awful that made you
uncomfortable, like when you see someone that hasn't realized that
they aren't hot anymore at age 79, but in their mind, there's never
been a more beautiful woman to walk the earth.
Director Jean-Francois Richet doesn't
know shit about action films. Wow, the timing of some of
these gun battles, the choreography of said battles, the
hand-to-hand fight scenes...they all fucking suck. SUCK!
The gun battles are not tense enough, and unGodly amounts of
questionable things happen due to cop inefficiency. Snipers
are constantly whining that they don't have a shot in this film;
aren't these guys trained in SWAT? At one point, snipers have
a target in their sights but then can't shoot through snow when
characters are ducking for cover. What, bullets can't go
through snow? And, the machine gun sound effects are canned;
the only reason why that I can think of for doing this is to pay
reverence to the original film, but still, that sound was bad.
All of the actors look like they are
dialing it in. From Hawke on down to the extras posing as
dirty cops, everyone seems to be aware that the movie they are
working in is really fucking bad. I was just laughing whenever
Byrne was onscreen; not only is he going through the motions, but he
also looks peeved, like he isn't making much to be in this bad film.
Maybe the most illogical stretch in film
history, when a character runs from a warehouse district to a wooded
area thicker than Endor in under 15 seconds. Yac and I
tossed up our arms during this number, as if the editors didn't
think we would notice a scene transitioning from a warehouse to a
forest instantaneously. And, it wasn't even a small forest;
from getting the birds' eye view, it looked like the forest spanned
quite a wide swath of real estate.
Zero intentionally-funny lines. John
Leguizamo and Ja Rule come close, but for the most part, this film
is REALLY unfunny. Wait...just having Ja Rule IN this film
makes that kind of funny, right?
I'll admit, "Assault on Precinct 13" should
have never been made, the second time at least. The attempts
to get anything out of this bullshit should have been dropped at the
Rating: Hard Vice
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard