Assault on Precinct 13

L.A.'s deadliest street gang just declared war on the cops.

Thriller Action Crime
91 min     7.275     1976     USA


The lone inhabitants of an abandoned police station are under attack by the overwhelming numbers of a seemingly unstoppable street gang.


chris.tmdb wrote:
Awesome film one of my all time favorite movies Plus (Great soundtrack)
John Chard wrote:
There are no heroes anymore, Bishop. Just men who follow orders. Assault on Precinct 13 is written, directed, edited and musically scored by John Carpenter. It stars Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, Laurie Zimmer, Martin West, Tony Burton, Charles Cyphers and Nancy Kyes. Cinematography is by Douglas Knapp. If you are going to homage films that you love, or ones that influence you, then you have to get it right. Something John Carpenter most assuredly did with this, his first masterpiece. Plot and structure of film are simplicity extreme, but it's the execution that matters here, the cool veneer of the hero characters, the frightening relentlessness of the gang members who assault the soon to close down police station and the small number of inhabitants within. Interestingly it's actually Precinct 9, Division 13, but Carpenter was no doubt in a playful mood. Carpenter builds the first half slowly, introducing key characters whilst deftly staging the events that will lead to the actual siege itself. This part of Los Angeles where the story is set is conspicuous by how empty and soulless it seems, even in daylight, which is where the terror actually begins. It's as if residents and locals just prefer to be off the streets at any time of day or night. The gang, like the folk inside the station, are multiracial, but unlike those inside the gang never speak. They move like silent assassins, no shouting or cussing, just a tidal wave of death, their guns adorned with silencers, which leads to a truly brilliant extended sequence as the gang begin to destroy the building silently! Meanwhile relationships are being formed by those under duress, convicts and police forced to battle side by side in the slightest hope of surviving the night. There is no flab on show here, no pointless dialogue or scenes which could have been cut, it's a film that is very much to the point. The cast respond well to Carpenter's requirements, be it emotionally, physically or coolly, all while Carpenter's low tone synthesiser plays out its memorably eerie beats. It's a superb lesson in low budget film making from one of the masters of that art. His filmic star may have waned in his later life, but for a time in the 70s and 80s he shone bright, Assault On Precinct 13 was the ignition. 10/10