Before "The Thing," before "Escape from New York," and even before "Halloween," John Carpenter and his crew produced this early action/suspense movie with a difference. A police station in a desolate area of a city is on its last night before being shut down and taken out of service. That afternoon, the phones and electricity are shut off, and just a handful of staff are kept on to look after the station overnight. The isolated building then becomes the setting of a siege in which gang members, armed with silenced automatic rifles, terrorize the occupants, who are unable to reach out for help. Will they make an escape, and how many will survive?
Bottom line: Even non-action fans will appreciate the clever plot, smart characters, and humor, and the premise is an unusual one, with tons of cool 70s flavor to boot. More than anything, this (much more than on the very early "Dark Star," for instance) is where Carpenter started showing the talent for which he'd soon become famous.