John Carpenter’s taut L.A.-set thriller chronicles a small group of cops, administrators, and crooks holed up in a decommissioned police station and their efforts to survive the night when a merciless street gang marks one of them—wily convicted murderer Napoleon Wilson (Darwin Joston)—for death. With the lines of communication to the rest of the city cut off and a finite amount of guns and ammunition to fend off the hordes of killers outside, it’ll take an unlikely alliance for this motley crew to make it out alive. The soundtrack of Assault on Precinct 13 alternates between gunfire and silence, tense conversations and Carpenter’s own blaring synths, yielding an evocative aural backdrop for a stark, elemental tale of survival in the face of impossible odds.
“A barely disguised remake of Rio Bravo, Assault on Precinct 13 is as dry as Rio Bravo is meandering. In both cases, the director entraps characters in postures of anticipation in order to watch them live. One of the finest examples of directing in cinema.” -—BB