"Assault On Precinct 13"
Shout Factory Blu-Ray Collector's Edition Review
Starring Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, Laurie Zimmer
Charles Cyphers, Tony Burton and Nancy Loomis
Directed By John Carpenter
COLOR/1976/1 HOUR 33 MINUTES/RATED R
Aspect Ratio: 2:35.1 1080p Non Anamorphic Widescreen
The 1970's were filled with gritty and cinema changing films that have withstood the true tests of time and are easily remembered such as "The Godfather", "Star Wars", "Close Encounters of The Third Kind", "Taxi Driver", and "Rocky" to name a few. Before Director and recent USC college grad John Carpenter would go on to make history with his thrilling "Halloween" in 1978, he directed his second film which was also a terrific action-thriller, "Assault On Precinct 13" which was shot on the cheap. However, the film has wonderful and strong assets to it that really makes alot of these big bloated action flicks look really pale in comparison.
The film takes place one very long night at now shutdown police station where a deputy named Bishop (Austin Stoker) is just simply there to provide support to a small group of workers including Leigh (Laurie Zimmer) and Julie (Nancy Loomis-Keyes) and a troupe of transport prisoners (Darwin Joston and Tony Burton) when a man shows up to the station unable to speak after witnessing the murder of his young daughter at the hands of a vicious gang who's sworn to a blood oath. The gang starts to make an assault on the station killing off everyone one by one in a carefully planned execution. Bishop and the rest of the survivors soon have to trust and rely on each other to not only survive the night, but also just plain survive.
The film inspired the much louded 2004 remake starring Ethan Hawke, Drea DeMatteo, Gabriel Byrne and Laurence Fishburne that bore very little resemblence to the film's sparse and entertaining style that Carpenter's had. What makes this movie so good is that it isn't about the violence so much as it is the pace and the story. You care for these characters and are rooting for them to survive the swarms of vicious gang members hungry for blood. Shout! Factory's special and newly remastered Blu-Ray is a revelation and a great looking disc that makes the earlier Image Entertainment Blu-Ray pale in comparison and that was a much better release than the original Collector's Edition DVD. The picture quality is terrific here and the sound is very sharp with John Carpenter's sparse electronic score getting a nice workout.
Shout also ports over almost all of the original Image DVD and Blu-Ray material sans Carpenter's isolated music score that was featured on both and added a couple of new features which will thrill fans of the film:
- Audio Commentary with writer/director John Carpenter
- NEW Audio Commentary with Art Director & Sound Effects Editor Tommy Lee Wallace
- NEW interview with actress Nancy Loomis Kyes
- NEW interview with actor Austin Stoker
- Interview with John Carpenter and Austin Stoker
- Theatrical Trailer
- Radio Spots
The film is not perfect, but it is definitely highly entertaining and exciting. Carpenter really makes extensive use of his location and we do end up liking and rooting for these characters all the way through the explosive finale. Highly Recommended.