In remaking John Carpenter's 1976 tale of an urban cop-shop under siege, director Jean-François Richet has had to make some changes. The balance has shifted from suspense to action, resulting in something that owes more to shoot-'em-ups like Die Hard than Carpenter's inspiration, the Western Rio Bravo. But while it's a different, glossier sort of film, it's not a bad one. Edgy, nasty and bang on target, Assault Mark 2 is still a slick, old-school night out.
The casting of twitchy Ethan Hawke as the burnt-out copper defending his snowbound station works effortlessly well. Bouncing off Laurence Fishburne's monolithic imprisoned mob boss, he anchors an ensemble cast where it's difficult to tell the cannon fodder from the survivors. Indeed, for every predictable formula shock there's at least one genuine gasp of surprise. How many `original' movies can boast that?
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