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Assault on Precinct 13

By Jim Gay

Assault on Precinct 13, the second feature by John Carpenter (Halloween, Vampires), has a group of cops and convicts joining forces as they're besieged in an all-but-abandoned police station by Street Thunder, a gang armed with automatic weapons and silencers. The relationships of those holed up in the police station as they try to survive the onslaught form the better part of the movie, borrowing liberally from the films of Howard Hawks, especially Rio Bravo, to make the point about who's "good enough" and who isn't. The action is taut and shocking for its time (1976). Street Thunder is more an irrational force, an embodiment of pure evil, than a clearly motivated group with a political agenda, drawing comparisons with Assault's other main influence, the zombies in George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. More than an action-exploitation flick (though it more than holds its own on that level), Assault on Precinct 13 is a disguised Western with a horror aspect that Carpenter would later work out more rigorously in such films as Halloween and The Thing. The DVD is a true Collector's Edition, preserving the film's original Panavision aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and including a fascinating commentary track by John Carpenter.

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: John Carpenter

Stars: Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, Laurie Zimmer, Kim Richards

Released: November 5, 1976

Availability: DVD VHS


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