Director Jean-François Richet and writer James DeMonaco — who went on to create The Purge series — had quite a challenge: how do you remake a John Carpenter classic?
After a failed sting operation, Detroit Police Sergeant Jake Roenick (Ethan Hawke) has hit rock bottom as he’s placed on desk duty at the soon-to-be-closed Precinct 13. On New Year’s Eve, a skeleton crew of Roenick, officer Jasper O’Shea (Brian Dennehy) and secretary Iris Ferry (Drea de Matteo) are all that’s in the station when psychiatrist Alexandra Sabian (Maria Bello) comes to evaluate Roenick and Marion Bishop (Laurence Fishburne), Beck (John Leguizamo), Anna (Aisha Hinds) and Smiley (Ja Rule) all end up being transferred due to a snowstorm.
Masked gunmen soon arrive and demand that Bishop be sent to them. They’re not his henchmen. Instead, they’re corrupt cops under the leadership of Captain Marcus Duvall (Gabriel Byrne), Bishop’s former partner. Soon, the precinct is under attack by a series of bad cops and SWAT teams, all wanting to kill the prisoners and cops who are aiding them.
The film makes several inversions — Bishop was a cop’s name in the original, Roenick’s codename Napoleon was the name of the criminal — and also remembers that the first movie was a remake of Rio Bravo by having the star of that movie, Dean Martin, on the soundtrack.
Did they succeed in updating the movie? Well, I’m partial to the original. It’s shocking in its intense violence and very of its time. This feels like just about any other action movie.
When asked how he feels about remakes of his films, Carpenter said to The Guardian, “If they pay me, it’s wonderful. If they don’t pay me, I don’t care. I think it’s unfair if they don’t pay me. I think everyone should pay me. Why not? I’m an old guy now and I need money. Send me money.”
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