Friday, March 23, 2007

Assault On Precinct 13

In french director Jean-Francois Richet's version of a 1976 John Carpenter's Assault On Precinct 13 it's New Years in Detroit, a cold winter's morning as Precinct 13 prepares to close it's doors and move to a new building. There are only three people in the building on New Year's Eve, and as a storm draws closer, a criminal being transported to a maximum security center is re-routed to the deserted precinct. Only, there are some other people that would like to get closer to the villain. And so begins this "noir" of an action movie which grabs you by the bullocks (if you have any) and never lets you go.

The movie, which is shot in a specially constructed "precinct" is authentic right down to the peeling paint on the plastic walls that encase the "holding cells" downstairs. It's one of those movies where every role has been perfectly cast. One of my favorite under-40 actors, Ethan Hawke, plays a burned-out Sgt. Roenick. Big bad Laurence Fishburne does a more than convincing job of playing the bad guy Marion Bishop. He simply has to look directly into the camera to make viewers weak in the knees. But the guy who really steals the show is John Leguizamo, who plays a junkie named Beck who has all the intellect of a ivy league professor. He role is demanding but he delivers. Where did this guy come from and how far will he go, I asked myself when the last bullet was fired and the movie credits began to roll.

This very excited story and amazing plot is aided by the talents of Maria Bello and Drea de Matteo and a cast of bad guy cops and jail birds (which includes Ja Rule) that only build on the momentum. Some people may find the film ultra violent, but "properly applied" violence never bothered me! This movie is definitely worth a look for action fans, and fans of John Carpenter's original who are curious. However, those that are disturbed by violent images, may want to steer clear of this film, or watch it and have something to complain about to your other pansy friends.

Now, here's some prose that even you'll be able to stomach:

Art Or Else

I don't believe this.

Right now I could be home sitting on my sofa in my underwear watching the basketball game on my new thirty-inch screen TV with a strawberry cooler making rings on my linoleum. And after that I could put on some Marvin Gaye while addressing issues of "urgent immediacy" like how to pay off all my maxed out credit cards.

The one time I agree to do something you want to see what happens. I let you talk me into driving downtown in friday-night-at-the-movies traffic with hookers propping up every corner and cough medicine addicts banging on the car window every nanosecond with grimy open palms just to see this.

Hell, this ain't even art in my book. When you said photo exhibition I thought fine framed prints of bold butterflies crossing the equator anti-clockwise or fresh forest smothered in morning mist or just limp tulips in a vase.

But this stuff's not art photos. It's just disgusting. Babe, how could art be closeups of guys' private parts and portholes large enough for a slam dunk.

You say there should be a place for art whose purpose is to "stir public debate and dissent" but I say next time please don't drag me along to see it because whoever this Robert Maplethorpe is he'll never be as famous a photographer as Kodak to name one.

Say what.

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Copyright 2007 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.
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