January 17, 2005

Rewriting Precinct 13

So I suppose in the nothing-creative-left-in-our-brains bowels of Hollywood (do you realize how many movies coming out in 2005 are remakes?), if we’re going to remake a film, we simply cannot cast bad guys as bad guys any more. In the original Assault on Precinct 13, the bad guys were a street gang sworn to revenge the deaths of some of their criminal brethren at the hands of police. They plan to do so by taking out the understaffed and soon-to-close Precinct 13.

In the new version, the understaffed and about-to-close precinct that falls under attack seems to be the only plot point making the transition. First, the action moves from Los Angeles to a more snowy clime, made out to be either New York or Chicago. Second, the bad guys bent on taking out those within Precinct 13 are corrupt cops. I guess Hollywood can’t get enough of corrupt cops and rogue military personnel.

Are there corrupt cops and rogue military personnel in real life? Undoubtedly. They are also an extreme minority, as most of those involved in the armed services and law enforcement are every day folks just wanting to serve, do their best, and make it home to their loved ones. You would think, though, from Hollywood’s perspective, that every other officer in blue was on the take and wouldn’t hesitate to erase from the face of the earth anyone who looked askance at him.

Laurence Fishburn’s character in the 2005 remake is a crime lord, temporarily being held in Precinct 13 while a winter storm blows through. The corrupt cops attacking the precinct are in business with the criminal mastermind, and cannot have him testifying against them. Would the action be much different if instead of corrupt cops afraid of being exposed, those attacking the precinct were the crime lord’s minions, bent on recovering their leader? That would certainly change the dynamic between Fishburn’s character and Ethan Hawke’s heroic cop figure. I’m sure there are even real-life examples of something similar, if one was to look hard enough. (Surely not an all-out attack on an entire police precinct, though there are examples of just that right now in Iraq.)

But when was the last time you heard about an entire SWAT team taking down one of their own department’s buildings?

I’m sure the film will be action-packed, but I can’t see it comparing to Training Day as far as corrupt-cop movies go. (And personally, Training Day doesn’t compare to the highly-underrated The Corrupter, which at least offers the hope of redemption.)

Posted by retrophisch at January 17, 2005 03:32 PM | TrackBack