The idea of taking any John Carpenter film, and remaking it into something better, would appear to be a real challenge. But, Director Jean-Francois Richet, has remade "ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13" into a film that's not only better, but close to great! In fact, one can't help but wonder if the remake is the version that John Carpenter really sought to make. Its characters are developed in simple ways with simple dialogue, but they have depth that's typically not found in Carpenter's work. The main character, Jake Fornick, a police desk sergeant, is haunted by an incident in which he blames himself for the death of two fellow officers. When corrupt cops prepare an onslaught on the jail he's working at, in order to kill a prisoner/witness inside, Fornick has the chance to redeem himself. The plot has the all of the underlying western elements Carpenter loved to incorporate into most of his films, some more successfully than others, but none as fully realized as they are here.
While there's a sense of what's "probably" going to happen, it's never a totally foregone conclusion, and there's real suspense.
UNIVERSAL has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The HD-DVD resolution is generally excellent. Since the film's setting is Winter, snowstorms play into the film's setting. The individual snowflakes have impeccable definition! It's really astounding to notice the detail in these shots. There are plenty of scenes where the fine detail astounds. Unfortunately, there are a few instances wherein the contrast could fare much better. These are delegated to darker moments, where blacks verge on appearing dark blue. Not the best hd-dvd out there, but still impressive overall.
UNIVERSAL has provided a DOLBY DIGITAL PLUS 5.1 mix and a DTS mix. There's not any discernible difference between the two mixes, which is in and of itself, surprising. Both mixes offer a variety of directional/panning effects as bullets volley all around. Explosions are frequent enough to showcase one's subwoofer and dialogue is always intelligible, even when layered within music and directional effects.
All of the extras from the standard dvd have been carried over for this release.