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Review Assault on Precinct 13 (1976): Totally annihilates the remake in case you were wondering!

genre: action, crime, thriller

It took me 41 years to watch this film and I wished I had done so much sooner. Not only does Assault on Precinct 13 hold up after all these years it undeniably is one of the coolest films I have seen in my lifetime.

Writer / Director John Carpenter himself confirmed he was heavily influenced by Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo and George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. I have seen many interviews where Carpenter had stated that wanted to make a Western but at that time the genre wasn't that popular any more so he hid one in an action exploitation film which back then was huge. Main character Ethan Bishop (Austin Stoker) confirms this in a scene where he realizes and states that he is in the middle of a siege. I am not sure if I have seen Rio Bravo. If I did it must have been when I was really young. But you can be sure I will definitely watch it sooner than later. Although it is not necessary to appreciate this film. Nor is it necessary to watch Night of the Living Dead. But it does add to the viewing experience. Especially if you recognize the similarities in how the gang members are portrayed. They are silent, relentless and there are many of them. They easily could have been zombies.

What really stood out for me was the relationship that is developed between police officer Ethan Bishop and Napoleon Wilson. Ethan treats Napoleon with respect throughout the film. Contrary to how other officers have treated him. In return Napoleon does the same. We are made aware of the fact that Napoleon is a ruthless killer and very much hated by almost everyone. At first glance he doesn't seem to be that threatening but there is an air of mystery and unpredictability surrounding him that makes him a very compelling character. Darwin Joston certainly contributed to that with his charm and fearlessness. He doesn't seem to be that much bothered by the dire situation he is in but he is very aware that if he doesn't side with Bishop that he probably won't survive. Bishop is very practical also. He doesn't get too hung up about Napoleon being a ruthless criminal since he needs him to defend the remaining people in the almost abandoned police station. He is also a very honourable man since he doesn't give up on Lawson ( a father who killed a gang member after they had murdered his daughter in cold blood). Bishop doesn't even know this fact but all he knows that he is a man who is being hunted by gang members and that he needs his protection no matter what.

Another character that made an impression on me was Lauri Zimmer as Leigh. She adapts to the dire situation quite well and stays calm and composed and even dishes out pain when needed. In one scene she gets shot and instead of panicking and crying she kills her assailant like a champ. I was stunned to find out that she only has done five films before she retired from acting. She now is a teacher. As far as I am concerned she is one of the best actresses this planet has ever produced.

So why does this annihilatie the remake? I remember having seen the remake and remember the actors who were in it but everything else is a blur. If there was anything memorable I would not have forgotten. That is how I roll. The original however is filled with classic and memorable moments that still hold up today. Just thinking and writing this review makes me want to watch the film again. A true classic.

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