After Dark Star, Carpenter made one of his few films outside his standard horror and Sci-Fi genres. Assault on Precinct 13 is a gritty action film about a group of cops holed up in a Precinct that is about to be closed. A gang has attacks with the express purpose of killing someone that is locked in the precinct. Cops and criminals must unite to survive the night.
The odds are against them, but they are not willing to give in either.
The cast, led by Austin Stoker (Battle for the Planet of the Apes) is a quality combination of both solid character actors and unknowns. These are good performances and Stoker’s Ethan Bishop is instantly likeable. He is a strong and determined officer who lays his life on the line to protect the people trapped with him.
The tale is unrelenting with an uneasy resolution. Unlike a lot of Carpenter’s other works, the threat comes from within humanity, rather than outside of it. That is part of what makes the heroes of the tale so compelling. They are forced to work together to deal with the brutal attacker bent on their complete destruction. Carpenter makes a successful action thriller worth watching.