Engaging action siege movie that got me to think about "Night of the Living Dead" but here zombies are replaced with gang-members carrying silencers. The gritty low budget give the movie a realistic documentary feel and the spare but effective synthesizer music add to the atmosphere. Even more shocking is the heartbreaking "meaningless murder" midway through the film that would have passed through censors today.
Carpenter in the raw. Bleak, uncompromising, rough around the edges, but static and calculated in a way that many contemporary low-budget genre pictures aren't. What sticks in the mind? The slow pans across desolate wastelands, the roaming gangs backlit by street lights, the shootouts in the dark. The first of Carpenter's (then) modern-day 'siege films', and one of his best.
Darwin Joston may not be Kurt Russell (well, of course he isn't), but as Wilson he delivers a dynamite gentleman criminal routine that makes this early Carpenter almost as giddy as it is gritty, harrowing, and luridly elemental.
Rio Bravo story, Carpenter version. Crime & heroism have elastic boundaries in his 2nd feature film, he directed at the age of 27, with $100 000. Unsuccessful movie in the US, yet acclaimed in Europe. ===== 2ème long métrage de CARPENTER réalisé à l'âge de 27 ans avec 100.000 $. Film boudé aux USA mais encensé en Europe. Le crime et l'héroisme ont des frontières élastiques dans cette histoire de siège & de huis-clos.
John Carpenter set out to make a Western, and instead summoned a vision of apocalyptic post-punk L.A., creating the single clearest bridge between Hollywood-at-the-OK-Corral and 80s action bonanzas. Carpenter never excelled at wit or chemistry like Howard Hawks, and Precinct 13 is in dire need of an actor as charismatic as Kurt Russell, let alone John Wayne. But the siege is terrific, the faceless menace iconic.
While I am not of the opinion that this one is the underrated masterpiece that many whose opinions I trust say that it is...that being said, it's still a tight, entertaining thriller. Yeah, the Rio Bravo influence is obvious, but nowhere near a rip-off or remake, IMO. All-around solid.