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Film / Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)

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A remake of the 1976 John Carpenter film of the same name, directed by Jean-François Richet, starring Laurence Fishburne and Ethan Hawke.

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.


This remake contains examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: Guess who?
  • Anti-Villain: Well, as far as Corrupt Cops can get. Captain Duvall 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.
  • Anyone Can Die: And most of them do.
  • 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.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Only Bishop, Iris, Roenick, and Capra make it to the end, all of them have been shot or otherwise badly injured, and Bishop makes his getaway. Roenick promises to be the one who finds him.
  • Bloodstained Glass Windows: Which leads to Bishop getting arrested.
  • 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.
  • Death by Sex: Averted, at least in spirit. Sexy secretary Iris is among the survivors of the movie.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Alex Sabian is established to be Roenick's girlfriend and is led to be believed to be the film's female protagonist. Then she gets killed by Duvall in the middle of the film. The actual female protagonist is eventually revealed to be Iris, who survives the film.
  • Defiant to the End: Alex Sabian
    Marcus Duvall: [Kneels in front of a kneeling Sabian] How many are inside?
    Alex Sabian: [Thinking] Uh... 100. [There are actually 5].
    Marcus Duvall: Answer the question.
    Kahane: [shakes Sabian] Answer, bitch!
    Alex Sabian: [stares at Duvall]
    Marcus Duvall: You're a brave woman. [Stands up and shoots Sabian point blank in the head].
  • Dirty Coward: Jasper sells everybody out to save his own skin.
  • Detroit: The setting is changed from Los Angeles to Detroit.
  • Evil Old Folks: Jasper, whose senior age was constantly brought up until his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Jasper, after he loses patience with Jake's plans and switch sides.
  • Fat Bastard: Jasper, played by "king-shit" Brian Dennehy, especially when he is revealed to be The Mole.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Type 1 for Laurence Fishburne.
  • Hypocrite: Jasper repeatedly lays into Roenick for trusting the criminals who are defending the precinct with them. And yet he's the one to betray the group to save his own hide, and is rather unapologetic about it.
  • 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 besieged, including a third (female) criminal
    • The station is besieged 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.
    • Instead of running out of ammo during attacks, the besieged gain more through the attacker's incompetence to the point they start with some handguns and improvised weapons to everyone carrying loaded assault rifles.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: These are police marksmen?
    • Justified considering the conditions everyone is shooting in. A snowstorm is NOT ideal conditions for a fire fight.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Jasper, who is a dick to the criminals, but nicer to the cop characters... until he fucks them all over to save himself.
  • Karma Houdini: Bishop is allowed to literally walk away from jail once the events of the movie are over, despite the fact that he is a fucking mob boss and is a major reason why half of the main character's colleagues and friends are dead.
    • Though this is less a case of "I'm letting you go" and more a case of "I am in no condition to stop you from leaving at this particular moment." Bishop is even told that he will be hunted down as soon as possible.
  • Leave No Witnesses: The reason everyone other than Bishop is in the firing line.
  • The Mafia: Fishburne's character ran some sort of organization like this.
  • The Mole: Jasper
  • Mythology Gag: Sergeant Jake Roenick is introduced using the undercover identity "Napoleon", a reference to the white murderer who was one of the protagonists of the original edition.
    • A black officer named Gil (played by Dorian Harewood) who looks a lot like Ethan Bishop, the cop hero of the original movie, is one of the first officers to die.
  • New Year Has Come
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Beck
  • Race Lift: The two protagonists' races this time around are switched, and one of the prisoners is Mexican.
  • Rage Quit: It seems Jasper's reasons to sell out his friends is due to finally losing his patience with Jake's attempts to led them to safety which Jasper thought its leading them nowhere and Duvall outnumbers them.
  • Reality Ensues: No badass Last Stand here. When it's only Roenick, Bishop, Iris, Jasper, and Capra left, they realize that escape is their only possible means of survival.
  • Retirony: Jasper, who was supposed to retire, until his Face–Heel Turn that leads to Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Alex Sabian gets a bullet in the head from the Big Bad.
  • Scary Black Man: Guys, it's Laurence Fishburne.
  • Snow Means Death: And a LOT of death.
  • 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.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Duvall (correctly) pegs Roenick as a burnout with nothing to really live for. He (incorrectly) believes this to mean he will fall apart under the strain pretty quickly.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Inverted. While neither is quite Vasquez levels of masculine, the more feminine, less aggressive Alex is killed while the more combative Iris lives. Likewise, Alex is a therapist while Iris works in the police station (admittedly as a secretary, but still)
  • 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.
  • Zerg Rush: Invoked, as once the protagonists are down to five people, they realize the villains can just storm the place and wipe them out the moment they actually piece that together.


Example of: