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More Die Hard 2 than Carpenter, but not bad at all
on 14 December 2007
The 2005 Assault on Precinct 13 is an above-average remake, an efficient Saturday Night Special that never quite gets the adrenaline pumping in the action scenes as much as it could but doesn't trash memories of Carpenter's no-budget classic as much as expected. If anything, the template here is more a scaled down Die Hard 2 minus the planes, even going so far as to borrow both central plot twist and one of the more memorable killings. Ethan Hawke is in Tom Cruise-lite mode - all the focused self-righteous concentration with none of the Scientology - and Laurence Fishbourne offers a smooth update of Darwin Joston's cool criminal but Maria Bello is wasted in a nothing role that exists solely to serve Hawke's redemption backstory. There are a couple of neat new plot twists and one unexpected killing, but mostly this delivers familiar genre thrills with a comforting lack of originality. It's certainly more effective than the French near-remake Nid De Guepes/The Nest.
The DVD extras, like the film, are satisfying without being particularly outstanding, though it's a shame the trailer isn't included.