Almost forty years later, director John Carpenter’s “Assault on Precinct 13” is still an excellent and mean contemporary western that never lets up on its audience. Director Carpenter has a knack for lensing the world to look like an alien habitat filled with despair and evil, and “Assault” is no exception. What begins as moving day for a local precinct descends in to violence, chaos, and murder with an enemy that will stop at nothing to quench its thirst for vengeance.
“Assault on Precinct 13” is set in crime ridden LA where a local gang has begun wreaking havoc on innocents for the sake of kicks. After his daughter is viciously killed by the gang, a father strikes back at the murderers and then flees for his life. Stumbling in to a local precinct, he seeks help and refuge from the staff, many of whom are preparing to go home and move their jobs to another part of the city. Meanwhile a violent criminal named Napoleon Wilson is being kept at the precinct until he’s transferred to a high security jail. All goes to hell, when the gang tracks down the father to the precinct and decides to slaughter everyone in the precinct for aiding him. Just their luck the precinct has no phones, and is located in the outskirts of the city where help is not available.
Carpenter manages to make great use out of the limited scenery, staging his own Alamo, with a gang that’s numerous in its hive mentality, while the staff of the prison have to figure out if they want to escape or fight for their lives. Director Carpenter is a master in building a powder keg of tension and emotions, as the eventual confrontation leads in to urban warfare with a rising body count. What’s worse is the group eventually has to free Napoleon Wilson and rely on him to help in the war, and this creates an uneasy atmosphere, as we’re never sure what Wilson will attempt during this conflict. “Assault on Precinct 13” paints LA as a war world where even common law men are struck down, and John Carpenter’s action thriller is a brilliant and exciting ride that hasn’t aged a bit.
The Scream Factory release looks as great as ever, and the film only benefits from its new transfer on to Blu-Ray. The new edition comes with new interviews with star Nancy Loomis Kyes, and Tommy Lee Wallace who had a hand in art directing and sound effects. There’s a commentary with director John Carpenter, as well as new interviews with John Carpenter and star Austin Stoker. Finally, there’s the original theatrical trailer for “Assault on Precinct 13” and original radio spots for the film.
In Stores November 19th. Buy It Here!