John Carpenter's Assault On Precinct 13
is a riveting low-budget thriller from 1976, in which a nearly abandoned police station is held under siege by a heavily armed gang called Street Thunder. Inside the station, cut off from contact and isolated, convicts heading for death row and the cops must now join forces or die. That's the basic plot, but what Carpenter does with it is remarkable. Drawing specific inspiration from the classic Howard Hawks Western Rio Bravo
(which included a similar siege on disadvantaged heroes), Carpenter used his simple setting for a tense, tightly constructed series of action sequences, emphasising low-key character development and escalating tension. Few who've seen the film can forget the "ice cream cone" scene in which a young girl is caught up in the action by patronising a seemingly harmless ice cream van. It's here, and in other equally memorable scenes, that Carpenter demonstrates his knack for injecting terror into the mundane details of daily life, propelling this potent thriller to cult favourite status and long-standing critical acclaim. From this Carpenter went on to make the original Halloween
, one of the most profitable independent films of all time. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
John Carpenter directs this tense remake of the classic Howard Hawks western 'Rio Bravo'. Set in modern-day Los Angeles, it concerns a mob of crazy guerilla gunmen who lay siege to a soon-to-be-closed police station, trapping a single cop (Austin Stoker) and a couple of secretaries (Laurie Zimmer and Nancy Loomis) inside. The gunmen unleash wave upon wave of attacks on the beleaguered station, but the cop proves himself a resourceful foe.