Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Assault on Precinct 13
Anyway, I know this is a remake of a '70s movie made by John Carpenter, and I probably saw it in my late teens when all I watched were these kind of hyperviolent movies, but I was probably very drunk which is why I don't remember it. So you can relax and forget about any egghead movie critic comparisons.
Let me tell you that this movie does not fuck around with any kind of slow build-up, it jumps right in. Within the first five minutes we see a man punch his dog in the face. Three times. The dog was asking for it though, it was barking its damn head off at our man Jake (Ethan Hawke) and looked like it was gonna bite him, and the dog was a big bastard too, could obviously handle a few punches in the face, and it seemed to be the perfect method of discipline with this particular creature because it calmed the brute right down.
This opening scene involved Jake and his two partners during an undercover operation to bust some drug dealers. The bust goes sour and Jake's two partners end up getting drilled. The movie then flashes forward two years (I think it was two years) to New Year's Eve (2004) inside Precinct 13, while a blizzard rages white and savage outside. This cop shop is about to close down for good, it's the last night and Jake and his two cop colleagues are basically caretakers for the night, since all calls will be transferred to another precinct.
So there's Jake, who is now an alcoholic pill-popping burnout who sits behind a desk pushing papers around and no doubt having nightmares and feeling miserable about letting his drug bust team get waxed; Jasper (Brian Dennehy) who is a big barrel of an old school Irish cop looking forward to getting good and drunk for NYE; and the secretary Iris (Drea de Matteo) who wears microscopic black skirts and can't stop fantasising about getting porked. Then Jake's shrink Alex turns up. She has been trying to get him to admit he's got some problems.
Things get interesting when a prison bus is diverted and has to drop four prisoners at Precinct 13. Three of them are small time criminals but the other one, Bishop (Laurence Fishburne), is something else. A cop killer. They get locked up. Some of the dialogue is pretty funny here, especially from the Puerto Rican junkie, Beck. He says to Bishop, 'A Puerto Rican and a black man are in a car. Who is driving?' Bishop knows the answer: 'The cop.' Beck gets real upset, it's his best joke and he is crestfallen that Bishop knows the answer.
Things get even more interesting when some balaclava-wearing maniacs bust in and start shooting up the place. What the fuck? Turns out there are countless maniacs out there with massive firepower and technologically superior gadgets, and we are not talking about handheld personal organisers. The place is under siege, but what do the bastards want? Whatever they want, the only way to fight them is for the cops and the criminals inside Precinct 13 to join forces, which naturally sets the scene for all kinds of tension.
The movie was damn good. The actors did a fine job. The dialogue was good and not annoying at any point. It was very violent and satisfying. Many people including myself laughed out loud. The sound was AMAZING, especially the sounds of the weapons firing. The sound guys excelled themselves. The screen was enormous, not small or medium sized. I enjoyed the movie very much.
The only problem I had was with some members of the audience. There were some kids there who refused to shut up. Two of them, some dumb fuck junior burger and his girlfriend, sat apart from the others, they sat over on the right side of the room, right against the wall, a totally retarded and idiotic place to sit when there were so many free seats. I imagine it would be like listening to headphones with only one can against your damn ear. But these were teenagers, the majority of which you can't expect much sense from at the best of times. I guess what it was, was they wanted some privacy, the least-populated spot they could find, so they could stick their thumbs up each other's ass or something. If they only did that, fine, but they wouldn't shut the fuck up throughout the movie. People who won't SHUT THE FUCK UP during a movie deserve to have their goddam heads MICROWAVED.