ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13
starring Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne, John Leguizamo, Maria Bello
screenplay by James DeMonaco, based on the screenplay by John Carpenter
directed by Jean-François Richet
starring Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Will Yun Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
screenplay by Zak Penn and Stuart Zicherman & Raven Metzner
directed by Rob Bowman
by Walter Chaw Being under siege and obsessive-compulsive disorder have together wrought a weird parallel generation in the remake Assault on Precinct 13 and sequel/comic book adaptation Elektra. In each is not only a woman who uses numbers obsessively in stressful situations, but also some sort of predicament where a gang of bad guys traps a band of good guys only to be given the business end of heroic pluck. Both are unusually ugly films with a higher-than-expected body count, and, to various degrees of success, both traffic in a paranoid marshalling of forces that comes with a fear of invasion from without. When you're panicked, drawing those you trust closer to the vest since the rest of the universe has murder in mind is the sanest recourse--even when you're aware that you're addicted, mad, or otherwise in desperate need of therapy. Early in 2005, trends are pointing to a year in which we champion isolationism, fear the marauding Hun, and start wondering if there's a blue-stater playing sheep in the quilting cotillion. Unless, that is, the blue-stater is you, and the constant threat of lynching or crucifixion has caused you to lose your mind.