- New video Q&A with John Carpenter and star Austin Stoker at the American Cinematheque
- Behind the scenes photo gallery
- Still and lobby card gallery
- Radio spots
Assault on Precinct 13
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In this unrelenting action masterpiece from director John Carpenter (Halloween, Escape from New York), a police station under siege from a vicious street gang becomes a cataclysmic battleground where only the strongest survive! Inspired by Howard Hawks' immortal western, Rio Bravo, this explosive gem from one of cinema's great frightmasters has been newly remastered with a host of high-powered extras!
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If you are on the fence about this, I suggesting getting it. It's another early masterpiece by Carpenter and well worth your time. I know a few people that were turned off by the "low budget" look of it, but for me that makes it even better. Darwin Josten as Napoleon Wilson is one of the great performances of the 70s. He's an obvious prototype for Snake Plissken. This is, in my opinion, light years ahead and better than the big budget remake from about a decade ago. When it comes to Carpenter remakes, stick with the originals.
The film stars a police officer named Bishop played by Austin Stoker. He has not done much else besides after this which is a shame because he did a good job here. He has been reassigned to this run down precinct that is about to be shut down called Precinct 13. As the film progresses he is joined by a cast of colorful characters like Wells (Tony Burton), Leigh (Laurie Zimmer), Lawson (Marin West), and Napoleon Wilson played by Darwin Joston. Darwin Joston, sadly, is another great actor that did not go on to do much after this. Together these unlikely comrades must defend Precinct 13 which is under siege by this faceless gang of fanatics.
There is so much going for this film. The story is simple, but sometimes simplicity is good. The film has great atmosphere and mystery to it. Normally having a group of faceless villains with no character is boring and a huge fault against the film, but here I actually think it helps the film. These gang members go all out as well. There is a scene where they actually kill a little kid in cold blood, which was quite shocking for the 70s. The fact that these people are nameless and often faceless adds to the dread and makes the situation direr for our main characters. The action is also great also.
The best aspect about the film is definitely the characters, particularly the two leads. I really love Bishop and Napoleon and their relationship they have throughout the movie. Even though one is a cop and one is a criminal, it is clear that they both respect each other. Plus they both are given clever dialogue especially Napoleon.
The film does have a couple issues. First off there is a character near the beginning named Starker (Charles Cyphers) who plays a big role in the beginning, but after a certain point the movie just completely forgets about him. We are lead to believe that he died, but if that is the case it was a really stupid death. Secondly, I thought that the girl, who played Leigh, Laurie Zimmer, is not that good of an actor. For example, in the film, she gets shot and she barely has a reaction.
Overall, Assault on Precinct 13 is a great action/thriller movie. I have not seen the remake so I cannot comment on that. However, as far as this film goes it is very enjoyable and I wish more people would recognize it.
The Steel Book art is quite beautiful and really stands out on the shelf. It's well made and the movie transfer quality was top notch. To put it simply, there is no better way to own this classic movie at this time.