Assault on Precinct 13 is a 1976 action/suspense film by John Carpenter. It was remade in 2005 with Laurence Fishburne and Ethan Hawke starring.Original:The story is essentially Rio Bravo transported to The Seventies. When a soon-to-be-abandoned police station in a Los Angeles ghetto finds itself under siege from a violent street gang, a cop must enlist the aid of a secretary and two convicts to hold off the attackers until help arrives.Remake:A notorious underworld boss of Detroit is finally captured by the police on the day of New Year's Eve. On his way to another prison, thick snow storms force the bus carrying him, three other criminals and several police officers to take shelter at the now-decommissioned Precinct 13. Over the course of the night, mysterious assailants, eventually revealed to be Corrupt Cops who were in league with the gang boss before his capture, attack the precinct, forcing officers and criminals alike to band together to survive.
The original provides examples of:
Action Girl: Leigh. Even after getting shot in the arm, she still manages to take down several mooks.
Affably Evil: Napoleon Wilson, who is friendly (as a convict can be to his captors) and quiet.
It looks as if Napoleon will reveal why he killed his victims to the overzealous cop accompanying him, but as the siege starts, the cop is killed quickly. Napoleon actually laments not getting the opportunity to do so.
The phone booth in which Lawson takes cover in at first, and which Wells tries to run to before getting blown away.
The gun Lawson took from the Ice Cream truck seems like it will come into play later on or that Lawson will do something useful. Ultimately he simply spends the entire film too traumatized to do anything.
Finally played straight with the magnesium flares, but not used until the very second. Justified in that there's no flare gun for them to be useful... yet.
Developing Doomed Characters: At least Carpenter thinks so; on the commentary he regrets taking too long to get to the assault. The fans tend to disagree.
Deus ex Machina: The patrol cops, searching for something completely unrelated (a missing phone company van dispatched to investigate cut phone wires), are the ones who call in backup before the station is completely overrun.
Diabolus ex Machina: Some weird inversion or whateversion of it — Lawson kicks off the plot and a lot of deaths by running into the police station, he himself sent there by the white gang member who casually shoots up the ice cream truck and Lawson's daughter. Both serve no purpose but to kick off the siege. Lampshaded by the secretary, who notes he was just some random somebody who brought Hell on the station.
Enemy Mine: Stoker is forced to rely on the assistance of two prisoners (one of them a convicted murderer of 6 people) in defending the precinct.
Equal-Opportunity Evil: A radio announcer comments on the racial diversity of the gang, which would (then and now) be unusual in Los Angeles. This is lampshaded in-universe by the same announcer.
Excuse Plot: In-universe, Lawson serves as this for why they target Precinct 13 in the first place; his killing the gangbanger who shot his daughter and then running into that station was simply as convenient a way to choose which station to attack as any.
Extremely Short Timespan: All the action takes place over the course of a single night. Lampshaded by Ethan; after the initial hail of bullets, he comments that Lawson only came in about thirty minutes ago.
Hollywood Silencer: Plot point: the reason why the initial barrage goes unnoticed, and why the prison convoy detail is slaughtered after the station chief is shot. Why gangbangers have silencers on M16s is explained — they stole a weapons shipment before the plot starts. Why they have silencers on revolvers, on the other hand...
No Budget: The film had a very small budget, witnessed by the copyright owner is listed as "CKK Corporation" which is short for the initials of Carpenter and his two associates (co-producers) J.S. Kaplan and Joseph Kaufman, who financed the film out of their own pockets.
Anti-Villain: Well, as far as Corrupt Cops can get. The cop leading the SWAT team aims to kill the Mafia don inside before he can testify to keep his fellow police officers' "honor" preserved. Taken further in a deleted scene, in which he Mercy Kills a very badly burnt SWAT officer after he promises to make sure his family will be taken care of and unaware of the nature of his death.
Armor Is Useless: Averted and played straight depending on what the plot calls for. The SWAT gear protects the bad guys from the handgun caliber return fire they're facing from the precinct holdouts, but against commandeered assault rifles, molotov cocktails and a confiscated samurai sword it doesn't do a bit of good. However this is an example of Truth in Television.
Cluster F-Bomb: Being made in the 2000s means that the criminals and officers alike are a lot fouler-mouthed than those in the original.
Corrupt Cop: The antagonists this time around, trying to take out Fishburne's character to ensure they don't get exposed.
In Name Only: Other than the basic idea of a near-abandoned police station under siege by criminals and forcing cops and other criminals to fight side-by-side, the remake essentially is nothing like the original.
In a weird variant of Race Lift, the characters of Bishop and Napolean Wilson are basically switched around; the black man becomes the criminal leader and the white man becomes the cop who has to work with the crime lord, whereas in the original Bishop was the cop and he was aided by a white criminal.
There are a lot more people inside the station when it gets beseiged, including a third (female) criminal
The station is beseiged by CorruptCops who want to cover up that they were taking bribes from the crime boss currently taking shelter there, whereas the original had the Street Thunder gang besieging the station because they wanted to generally crack some cop skulls in revenge for the death of six of their members.
There are three female characters; a secretary, a lawyer and a criminal. Of these, the secretary lives to the end, whereas the secretary in the original got shot fairly early on.
Take That: Against the fans. Beck (John Leguizamo) was so popular that audiences were disappointed to see him killed off. The director took this as an advantage and shot a close up of Beck's body hit the snow with the bloody bullet wound through his forehead.
Debatable, Alex is more feminine than Iris. Alex dies while Iris lives.
What Happened to the Mouse?: The shotguns the bus guards came in with disappeared shortly before the assault on the precinct and were never seen again, despite there being no place for them to have gone.