If you’re anything like me, you’ve recently been feeling like a victim of the multiplex. You buy your tickets, hoping for entertainment, but after leaving the theater, you feel only loss.Never again will you get those two hours and $7 back. Your efforts would be better spent reading a book, but who wants to waste their weekend doing that? So when a movie like “Assault on Precinct 13” comes out, you can breathe a sigh of relief.This is not to say that “Assault” is a great film for the ages, but if you’re looking for entertainment, which is in short supply on mainstream screens, you could do worse- much worse, actually, since Hollywood has unloaded its “award-winning” fare months ago, leaving the real bombs and stinkers for this time of the year until the summer blockbusters come out in May. So, if you simply must see something this weekend, “Assault” is a waste of neither time nor money.Ethan Hawke plays Roenick, a burnt-out undercover cop who gets placed behind a desk after he is shot and his partners die in an arrest that goes wrong. His new workplace is the dilapidated Precinct 13, a police station that will shut down in the new year, while the film is set on the day of Dec. 31, 2004. On this particular night, the building is running on a skeleton crew whose only goal is to celebrate the holiday and wait for their subsequent transfers.But things get complicated when a prison bus carrying a crime boss named Bishop, played by Laurence Fishburne, and an assorted group of petty crooks is forced off the road and into the under-staffed station by a blizzard. Other characters arrive, and the story really begins when the group learns that the building is surrounded by armed gunmen who, presumably, want to free Bishop. However, these men are actually corrupt police officers who intend to kill Fishburne’s character, along with everyone else in the building, to prevent him from informing the prosecutors of their criminality. This danger forces the group of cops, criminals and innocent bystanders to join together to stay alive.The film depicts a story familiar to old westerns and is a remake of a John Carpenter film, but that does not matter. Should you see “Assault,” you’re not going for its plot or history, but its action and violence. And trust me, it has plenty.The acting is fine, the dialogue is adequate and unfortunately, the movie has plot holes to furnish plot twists, but “Assault” really excels with its numbers – those numbers being dead bodies.Every character is a potential target, and through the course of the narrative, almost every character becomes one. There are gunshot wounds, stab wounds and someone even gets an icicle through their eye – others are burned, beaten with baseball bats or blown up by grenades. By the end, you’ll wonder why the station is shutting down, considering it looks as if the precinct needs a new addition to store all the bodies. This might seem like a low-brow way to sell “Assault,” but it’s thinking like this that makes the movie entertaining. I’m not promising intellectual stimulation here, just stimulation, and I think most of us can appreciate that. Or, maybe, the more masochistic among you can subject yourselves to “Are We There Yet?” Apparently, Ice Cube rides a horse and is puked on by a kid, if that’s more your style.Battenhausen can be reached at dbattenhausen@campustimes.org.



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