It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
'Assault on Precinct 13" is not so much a remake as a riff on an old familiar plot: The fort is surrounded, and the defenders have to fight off the attackers and deal with possible traitors in their midst.
Howard Hawks did versions of this so often that after John Wayne starred for him in "Rio Bravo" (1959) and "El Dorado" (1966), he told Wayne he was sending over a script for "Rio Lobo," and Wayne told him, "I'll make it, but I don't need to read it. We've already made it twice."
John Carpenter's 1976 film, made just before his famous "Halloween," added some touches from George Romeo's "Night of the Living Dead" and moved the action from a threatened sheriff's office in the Old West to a threatened police station in the inner city. Now French director Jean-Francois Richet takes essentially the same material and makes it work with strong performances and a couple of new twists.
Precinct 13, in this version, is scheduled to close forever at midnight. Burnt-out desk sergeant Jake Fornick (Ethan Hawke), still traumatized by the death of two partners, is on the graveyard shift with old-timer Jasper O'Shea (Brian Dennehy), who in a revelation fraught with omens, announces he will soon retire. Also in the station is the buxom secretary Iris (Drea de Matteo).