Assault On Precinct 13

The talented Jean-Francois Richet, who grew up in a housing project outside Paris, made news in France when his radical feature Ma 6-T va crack-er (1997) was banned from French screens as a danger to public safety. With his remake of John Carpenter’s 1976 feature, he again turns a crime thriller into a corrosive war movie, less suspenseful than the original but more ethically nuanced, politically pointed, and violent. It retains the core story of a besieged city cop in a semiabandoned station house (Ethan Hawke at his jumpiest) who joins forces with a hard-nosed prisoner (Laurence Fishburne at his coolest) after the precinct is attacked by a mob. But most of the trappings are quite differentfor starters, the street gang in Carpenter’s movie has become an entire force of crooked cops. With John Leguizamo (more hysterical than he needs to be), Gabriel Byrne, Maria Bello, Brian Dennehy, Drea de Matteo, and Ja Rule. R, 109 min. (JR)

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