Evan Bishop has just made Lieutenant in the LAPD. His first assignment, which is supposed to be either a free ride or a kick in the ass from his chief, is to spend the night babysitting an old police station. Precinct 9 District 13, located in the ghetto, is closing down on Sunday morning but someone still has to man the station on Saturday night. Not long after Bishop arrives, the station is besieged by a vengeful street gang looking to settle a score with either a) the man who killed one of their members, b) the police who killed a lot of their members, or c) both.
Minimalist is the word I'd use to describe everything about this movie. Music, cast, dialogue. Everything is bare bones. Which, I think, ups the tension. You're trapped inside the police station with a handful of people, you have no clear idea of what's going on and whether help will come. There's a kind of purity in the terrifying isolation at work here, though the film is not without its faults. The pacing, for starters, is very strange. Actually, it's quite slow and then, very suddenly, it's the end of the movie. Certain story elements, also, are unexpected and were this film made today, unlikley to have been included. In fact, the movie was remade in 2005 with an altogether more complicated plot.
I'll admit to having a teeny nightmare after watching. Most of what happened was unrelated to the film, but there was this one moment when people were milling about outside. I didn't know why. And you know how dreams are, you remember two things happening at once, so though the people were hanging about, they were also running past, frightened, terrified even and again I couldn't understand. This part of my dream I believe comes from Assault (I watched it right before I went to sleep). While everyone is holed up in the station, the gang runs around outside. The police, of course, and you also, have no idea what they're doing, and it's a bit scary so see them run like that. I took this feeling to bed with me and the organized chaos of the street gang mutated into a panicked flight in my dream.
Craze-o-meter: 0, uncrazy