It’s New Year’s Eve, and the last night for Precinct 13, which will be closing its doors in the morning for good. The skeleton crew on deck have no reason to expect any work, they are drinking it up and listening to some classic tunes as the clock ticks down towards the building’s redundancy.
Sergeant Jake Roenick (Ethan Hawke) twiddles thumbs and regrets the events that left him an ex-undercover cop on disability. Retiring Jasper (Brian Dennehy) indulges in the last night of his long career, being destined to retire with the station. Police psychiatrist Alex (Maria Bello) is stranded by a snowfall – why she felt the need to do station calls on New Year’s Eve isn’t explained – or explainable, and the secretary/receptionist whatever flirts the night away.
Outside though a monster snowfall has left a prison transport bus on icy snowbound roads, left with no option but to seek safe haven for the night before completing their errand next year. On this bus are a few transferees including John Leguizamo and *BLEH* Ja Rule, and Marion Bishop (Laurence Fishburne). With the roads impassable they decide to crash the NYE party for one night only. I just hope that Ja Rule doesn’t decide to perform…
A rough head count puts the occupants at 4 cops, 4 crims and 2 female non-police staff, that is until the team of heavily armed, well equipped and intensely focussed guys show up to the party.
While we initially don’t know of the intruder’s intentions we immediately realise they aren’t Avon ladies, and given the gushing description of the nefarious deeds of one Marion Bishop it is fair to reveal that he is the main prize in the Precinct 13 Kinder Surprise.
Those outside are lead by Gabriel Byrne, who despite the impenetrable snow manages to show up again and again in a car and watch from afar. His team plays no favourites and after the initial incursion it rapidly turns into a siege of sorts, with the outside guys playing no favourites, and the insiders reluctantly banding together to defend themselves by keeping the countless bad guys out.
The equation is quite simple, allow the faceless ones to be culled off one by one until the guys on the poster remain, pausing only to reveal supposedly astonishing twists periodically. In reality this film never reaches any great heights, although it demands mentioning that in snowy and unfavourable conditions so many of the deceased are victims of neat little headshots.
I can’t believe that filmmakers need to remake and reimagine so many films that were hardly interesting or revelatory to begin with. After all Assault on Precinct 13 was a middling 70s curio to begin with, and they hardly introduced many new elements to proceedings.
Hawke brings his usual unremarkable qualities to the table, Fishburne carries himself with his usual gravitas and Byrne shows the same reluctance to exertion as his character does to leaving the car in such cold weather.
Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. The John Carpenter helmed original was no great shakes, but it was at least the first. Why they bothered with this do-over is beyond me.