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Detroit's in for a new bruising: A seedy city depi

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Detroit's in for a new bruising: A seedy city depicted in film

November 23, 2004

BY MARSHA LOW

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

After metro Detroit shakes the Pistons-Pacers brawl that deepened the bruise on the region's rep, once the holidays have passed and the hangovers dissipate, the abuse of Detroit's image will start again.

This time, it will be on the silver screen.

"Assault on Precinct 13," a remake of the 1976 cult classic, is a movie originally set in the bowels of Los Angeles. The new version moves to what the movie describes as the crime-ridden ruins of Detroit.

The star-studded flick tells the story of a stormy New Year's Eve in a crumbling neighborhood in Detroit. An old police precinct is set to close quietly in just a few days, but according to the movie's trailer, one of "Detroit's most lethal prisoners changed everything."

Crime lord Marion Bishop, played by Laurence Fishburne, sits in Precinct 13 for the night when a gang attempts to break in to capture the mobster at any cost. The skeletal crew of police officers and the prisoners realize they must band together if they want to make it out alive. As the movie's publicists put it, "as the characters fight to the death, the thin lines between good and bad bleed together."

The film is set to hit theaters in late January -- at the beginning of a 12-month period in which Detroit hosts the All-Star game and Super Bowl. The film's distributor, Rogue Pictures, released a trailer earlier this month.

A skyline shot of Detroit is the only glimpse of the real Motor City.

The film's director and producers shot the entire flick in one of North America's cleanest big cities -- Toronto. Although the production team was unavailable for comment Monday, a representative for Rogue Pictures said the film was moved from its original Los Angeles to Toronto for a more storm-bound, stark effect. Filmmakers also receive generous tax breaks in Canada and their dollars go further.

When first released, the film earned cult status for its violence and portrayal a brutal society. Directed by John Carpenter, it was produced on a small budget, without big actors.

This time around, Fishburne is joined by a cast that includes Ethan Hawke, Drea de Matteo, Maria Bello, Gabriel Byrne and Brian Dennehy. The film is also the U.S. feature debut for French director Jean-Francois Richet.

To see the trailer, click on http://filmforce.ign.com/articles/565/565951p1.html.

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