Escape From New York
Director: John Carpenter
Year: 1981
TRT: 1:39

Reviewed: 5/25/03

I think this still stands up as a decent action movie. Sure, it's a bit dated now, but it's great to see the entire Manhattan Island walled off and made into the nation's only prison. Now if they could only follow through with this idea, but include lawyers in the bunch as well, then we could be one step closer to Utopia. As for Carpenter's follow-up Escape From L.A., I saw it once a long time ago, and remember it was a poor excuse for a movie. Sorry Johnny, it was just too far of a stretch.

Airforce One is hijacked and crash-lands into the nation's single prison, which just so happens to be Manhattan Island. Since the criminals are pretty much free to do whatever they please within the walls, police guards are only posted around the perimeter and engage in helicopter flyovers. This means "the man" has to rely on a newly captured con and ex-military bad-ass, Snake Pliskin, to go in and get the President out within 24 hours, in exchange for a pardon. Relying on his training and reputation, Snake has a day to accomplish his task, or die! (sorry, had to get that dramatic tag in there)

Kurt Russell pulls off the grim Snake well, and some great supporting roles by Ernest Borgnine, Harry Dean Stanton, Donald Pleasance, and Isaac "Chef" Hayes. It's a movie that has some suspense and looks pretty alright, even with its first-generation of computer graphics. You'll have to put up with some cheesy keyboard music, though, done by Carpenter as well.

Great Scenes: Kind of a running joke with everyone who Snake runs into...

Media Notes: I watched the fairly basic DVD put out by MGM, double-sided with Widescreen & Standard, and includes the trailer. I thought they did a special edition of this movie with commentary by Carpenter & Russell, but I guess I'm mistaken. Looks like I'll just have to pick up the S.E. of Big Trouble in Little China for that...


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