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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 attack the precinct, forcing officers and criminals alike to band together to survive.

This remake contains examples of:

  • 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 (even though the Executive Meddlinginvoked test screening viewers thought differently as it made Duvall comes across as an Unintentionally Unsympathetic Ax-Crazy Bad Boss that leads to the scene to be cut).
  • 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.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Jake and Alex start the film very confrontationally but quickly find themselves comforting each other once shit starts hitting the fan.
  • 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.
  • Blinded by the Light: Unsurprisingly in a film about cops battling cops, flashbang grenades are used a few times, with varying degrees of effectiveness.
  • Bloodstained Glass Windows: Which leads to Bishop getting arrested.
  • Boom, Headshot!: A lot of people get shot in the head.
  • 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.
  • Cool Guns: The film shows a few guns that're either anachronistic or in the wrong hands. The good guys deploy a bona fide Tommy Gun against the bad guys, who in turn wield SG 550s, an assault rifle you don't normally see in US police service.
  • Corrupt Cop: The antagonists this time around, trying to take out Fishburne's character to ensure they don't get exposed.
  • 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.
  • Elite Mooks: The entire opposing police force counts as this when compared to the protagonists due to being highly trained police officers equipped with full tactical gear, body armor and superior weaponry. The good guys only have their service pieces and whatever firepower they could salvage from the precinct's evidence vault.
  • 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.
  • Fighting Irish: Jasper mentions he's an Irish-American just like his actor.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Jake handing out guns to the criminals is treated like this by just about everyone who's not one of the criminals. Jasper in particular is very vocal about his disagreement with this decision.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Blonde psychologist Alex is easily the most unambiguously kindhearted character in the cast.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Type 1 for Laurence Fishburne.
  • Hope Spot: In the middle of the siege, Alex and Anna manage to successfully hotwire a car and escape the cordon. Everyone starts cheering, only for one of Duvall's men to rise from the backseat, shoot Anna in the head, crash the car and take Alex hostage.
  • 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 Napoleon 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.
      • Though there are two female secretaries in the original, one who dies and the other who survives.
    • Instead of running out of ammo during attacks, the besieged gain more through the attackers' 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. Justified, though—it's 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.
  • Kill It with Fire: Bishop fights the first battle with molotov cocktails. Later the protagonists use turpentine to set a fire trap when another wave of baddies attacks.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: 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.
  • Laser Sight: To an almost ridiculous degree. Every single member of the besieging unit has one mounted to their gun, and there are multiple scenes where they're used to en masse to impressive (purely visual) effect.
  • Leave No Witnesses: The reason everyone other than Bishop is in the firing line.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: And it really does. When one of the assault waves on the precinct is spearheaded by a trooper carrying a ballistic shield, the protagonists' return fire harmlessly bounces off of it.
  • The Mafia: Fishburne's character ran some sort of organization like this.
  • Mexican Standoff: One ensues between the cops/civilians and the criminals mere minutes after Jake arms the latter.
  • Moe Greene Special: The first of the bad guys to die checks out via knife to the eye.
  • The Mole: Jasper
  • Ms. Fanservice: Two of the three female characters fit the bill to varying degrees. Iris is the precinct's beautiful, sensual Sexy Secretary who enjoys talking about her sex life and wears a short dress, heeled boots and net stockings in every single scene she's in. Alex had a New Year's Eve party set up and is dressed for the occasion.
  • 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
  • Officer O'Hara: Jasper, the eldest officer who's an Irish-American. Big Bad Corrupt Cop Marcus Duvall is played by Irish actor Gabriel Byrne with a Fake Americaninvoked accent.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Beck and Alex.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Corrupt they may be, but the majority of Duvall's men seem very reluctant to kill innocent people just because they are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Doesn't stop them from going through with it, though.
  • 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 is leading them nowhere and Duvall outnumbers them.
  • Retirony:
    • Jasper, who was supposed to retire, until his Face–Heel Turn that leads to Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves.
    • As in the original film, the siege occurs during Precinct 13's last night of operations (a lot of the improvised weaponry is even explicitly mentioned is stuff from the evidence locker that was going to be taken away with the rest of the gear tomorrow morning). Precinct 13 is set on fire by the remaining heroes to prevent Duvall and his men from following them as they escape.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Alex Sabian gets a bullet in the head from the Big Bad.
  • Scary Black Man: Guys, it's Laurence Fishburne.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Protagonist Jake Roenick has several years of service as an undercover cop under his belt, but by the time of the film he's a burned-out wreck after his last sting operation went horribly wrong.
  • Snow Means Death: And a LOT of death.
  • Survival Mantra: Alex starts solving math equations in rapid succession while under pressure, much to the irritation of everyone who hears it.
  • 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.
  • Tempting Fate: When it looks like Alex and Anna successfully escaped the siege, everyone starts cheering "we made it!". Guess what happens next.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted—Roenick has frequent sessions with police psychologist Alex Sabian to treat his PTSD after his last undercover op went down in flames. Neither of them is happy about it.
  • Third-Person Person: Professional forger Smiley often talks like this.
  • 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: "Female Gangbanger", as described by the prison bus driver, Anna is the first female to die.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The cops, civilians and criminals in the precinct do not put up a united front against the squads of Corrupt Cops on their doorstep. They spend more time bickering amongst each other than they do defending themselves from the real threat.
  • 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.