John Carpenter is a masterful filmmaker when he wants to be and with this film he certainly shows us that.
I wish the packaging had been better.In one night a police station is cut off from the world as a gang called Street Thunder is bent on bringing the power down. This is basically the plot of John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13. What ends up happening along the way is that police officers and convicts must work together to survive the assault. What makes this film so intriguing is John Carpenter's almost cinema verite-like direction, mixed with his usual awesome score. This move is simple in its presentation and that is was makes the violence, drama and everything else all play out so richly.
On this track Carpenter breaks down the production of this movie. What I have always liked about listening to him talk is that he makes everything seem simple, matter of fact, and as though there was no other way that something could have been pulled off. He discusses the shots for the film, his use of audio, and what he hopes the film was saying both when it came out (1976) and today.
bold|Interview with John Carpenter and Austin Stoker
2.35:1. This movie looked good. There isn't anything too amazing about it. There's no flashy camera angles to make film school kids get excited. In fact, the movie at times seems to go out of its way to provide the viewer with simple colors and an almost desaturated look. That said, it is within the simple shot compositions and well defined scenes that Carpenter allows this movie's strength to percolate.
Dolby Digital. 5.1 Surround. 2.0 Mono. Subtitled in English and Spanish. This film sounded awesome. In fact, I thought the audio was so good that I took advantage of a feature I almost never touch: the isolated score. As a huge fan of John Carpenter as a composer, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to not listen to the film in this way.
I wish this packaging had looked more like a John Carpenter movie than Fernando Meirelles' City of God. The front cover merely gives us a contrasty image featuring members of the Street Thunder gang. The back contains 8 images from this movie, some critics quotes, a description of what this film is about, a Special Features/Technical specs listing and a credits list.
I knew when I put on this DVD that I was going to love this film. The soundtrack was classic Carpenter and it made all the sense in the world that this film would follow in his casual style. The plot was intense, the action fair to midland, and there was just a rich sense of character and plot. I never felt like this movie was preaching to me, even though I feel that a genuine statement was being made.
What is that statement?
Well, this movie seems like an allegory for America during the 1970s and what happens when the powers that be get confronted by the people they have power over? Assault on Precinct 13 its best to examine this and give the viewer a visceral thrill ride.