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Assault on Precinct 13 SE

Burnt out cop Jake Roenick (Hawke) has to serve on December 31st of 2004 and it’s not only the last day of the year but also the last day that Precinct 13 is manned. Although manned is a big word. There’s only him, Jasper O’Shea (Dennehy) who’ll be retiring, and the secretary, Iris (de Matteo) present. Things look to be very quiet until cop-killer Marion Bishop (Fishburne) is dropped off together with a couple of other criminals due to the fact that the prison transport couldn’t get any further due to the bad weather. While the countdown to 12 o’clock starts, 2 masked men enter the building and start shooting. Jake manages to get them out but little later, they notice the 2 weren’t alone. At first, it seems like Bishop’s gang is trying to liberate their leader but it doesn’t take long before it becomes clear that it’s dirty cops who try to kill Bishop before he can testify against them. Bishop tells Jake that he used to work with a group of cops under the lead of Marcus Duvall (Byrne) who are now out to kill him and won’t let anyone leave the precinct alive as they can’t have any eye witnesses running around. Jake decides to give the prisoners guns as well as only with Jasper he won’t be able to defend the precinct. A long night has started…

Sound and Vision:
The image has been digitally changed to give a more cold and abandoned look but this doesn’t affect the overall quality. The contrast and shadow detail are really good and during the dark scenes (which is almost all the time) there’s no problem following what’s going on. There’s some minimal grain present as well as some compression errors which is quite strange seeing that there’s more than enough space available on the disc still so why a higher bitrate hasn’t been used is a mystery.

The soundtrack is really good with warm and dynamic sound, good and aggressive use of the surround speakers and crystal clear dialogues coming from the center. Everything is perfectly supported by the subwoofer that gets a decent part of the action. The DTS track has a much higher bitrate than the Dolby Digital one so if you can use DTS, this one is certainly preferred!

Disc 1:
– Preview Trailers of The Sound Of Thunder, SAW, Alone In The Dark and Unleached
– Audio commentary by director Jean-François Richet, writer James DeMonaco and producer Jeffrey Silver

Disc 2:
– Trailers of White Noise, SAW, Alone In The Dark and Unleached
– Armed & Dangerous: feature where the weapons specialist tells about the arms that are used in the movie and what the director wanted to accomplish
– Behind Precinct Walls: the production designer shows the different locations and how the precinct was created. Also the computer animations pass the tour
– Plan Of Attack: Feature on the different stunts that were done
– The Assault Team: Director, producer and writer talk about how the movie was created and what they wanted to achieve.
– Explosive Deleted Scenes
– Caught In The Crosshairs: electronic press kit where you get to see some movie footage combined with short interview fragments with cast & crew

Assault on Precinct 13 is a remake of John Carpenter’s 1976 movie that was based on Rio Bravo (with John Wayne). Carpenter wanted to make a modern day western and that same feeling is still present in the new remake although it’s a little more down to base than it could have been when f.i. Quentin Tarantino would have directed it. The acting is pretty good with Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne again giving great performances just like Gabriel Byrne who seems to have found his role in Hollywood with always having to be the bad guy. Nice to see Brian Dennehy again as well, I was starting to miss him and he doesn’t disappoint at all in this movie.

Technically things are quite ok but the fact remains that a higher bitrate was a possibility and it would have improved the image quality even more. Why Dutch Filmworks decided to go with a lower one beats me. On the sound part there’s nothing to complain if you have DTS. The Dolby Digital track could use some more punch. The extras are pretty decent although I wonder why we get to check out the same preview trailers on both discs. Also the “Caught in the crosshairs” feature is little more than promotional garbage.

All in all, Assault on Precinct 13 is a very enjoyable action movie that should appeal to a large audience. Get it!

Our Score:

posted in: Dutch Filmworks, DVD, Reviews

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