Assault on Precinct 13

Assault on Precinct 13 ★★★★

As close to Romero as Carpenter gets, Assault on Precinct 13 is a breakneck-paced ninety minutes of blazing genre fusion, an inspired exercise in pulp equal parts Rio Bravo and Night of the Living Dead. Unlike most of Carpenter’s classics, the budget restraints can be felt here, damaged film stocks and minimal set pieces obscuring his far-reaching ambition. It’s pretty far from his greatest achievement, but for a second feature, his ability to load the piece with impending doom is just breathtaking. Suitably set to the most 80s score of the 70s, this is an essential early-work of politically subtextual exploitation, a master filmmaker’s unmistakable voice budding like the first crop of a promising yield.

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