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The Film: With Dark Star having failed to truly launch his career, Carpenter stuck to the indie route and, this time influenced by Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo, dreamt up the tale of a police precinct about to be closed that finds itself under attack from an LA gang.
It found success, particularly in London, and Carpenter was on his way. Well, sort of...
Carpenter Chats: “It may or may not be evident, but we got stung in a couple of places with the actors.
"Two factors governed the casting: the cast had to look right for the movie, but they also had to work for very little money, which meant that generally they came from the lowest rung of Hollywood actors.
"The guy who plays Napoleon Wilson was a friend of mine, and so he was in from the beginning. But there was one actor who could barely get his lines out. Every time he finished a speech, he would let out an audible sigh of relief. He has a minimal command of English, and can barely remember his lines, but he tries to play them like Othello.
His performance and one other only just squeak by. I cut the film myself, and I tried to edit out all the bad stuff."
Remade? Yes, in 2005 with Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne in the lead roles and Jean-Francois Richet directing. It's surprisingly decent for a Carpenter re-tread.