With War Of The Worlds, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Kong all on the horizon, Hollywood remake chic has never been sharper. But the thought of a modernised Assault On Precinct 13 always felt like a rework too far. No way could John Carpenter’s 1976 low-budget, cult classic siege flick be updated without losing the unsentimental, relentless essence of kill-or-be-killed that seeped from the original.
Surprisingly, though, even switching the action from the sticky heat of LA to the snowy wasteland of Detroit on New Year’s Eve doesn’t cause a significant temperature drop. Sure, the Ethan Hawke/Laurence Fishburne actioner does lack the brooding atmosphere of its forerunner – the skeleton-crewed Precinct encircled by crooked cops rather than probed by kamikaze gang-bangers – but French director Jean-François Richet doesn’t wince from retaining the original’s remorse-free rawness.