Assault on Precinct 13

release year: 1976
genre: action/suspense
viewing setting: home DVD, 1/4/20 and 5/21/17 and 4/13/11 and 5/15/05 and 3/22/03

synopsis: Urban street gangs unite and declare war on the police, attacking a nearly-abandoned police station. The handful of people there - a mix of cops, robbers, secretaries, and one who just wandered in - must fight or die.

impressions: This was John Carpenter's second work (the first being Dark Star) and despite being dated and not a big-budget film, it was quite entertaining. The movie took about half an hour to set up the situation, then the gunfire began. Some call this movie a Western, but I think of it more like a living dead movie, where endless hordes of generic, almost faceless enemies attack with no regard for their own lives. Good use of lighting/shadows, and good music are bonuses.

acting: Austin Stoker is the police lieutenant who finds himself in charge of a difficult situation. Darwin Joston is the tough, competent criminal who still manages to be a good guy. Laurie Zimmer is the secretary who must learn to fight for survival. Tony Burton (who was Apollo's trainer in the Rocky movies) is another convict. Martin West is a grieving father who acts out and then becomes utterly useless.

final word: Good seige movie.

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