Cast and Crew: John Carpenter (Director); Kurt Russell, Steve Buscemi, Pam Grier, Peter Fonda
What It’s About: In 1998 — the year after the events of Escape from New York (1981) — a huge earthquake separates Los Angeles from the mainland, so the solution for America’s despotic government is again to turn a megalopolis over to bands of roving criminals. In 2013, they corral Snake Plissken from retirement and send him in to retrieve a WMD. Perhaps the most memorable scenes in the movie are provided by “Map to the Stars” Steve Buscemi. Thankfully, the conclusion leaves little room for another sequel. Russell is still charmingly gruff as a 1990’s action star, but you probably don’t want to see him reprise the role again today unless you are a huge fan of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Why Watch it Today?: It’s John Carpenter’s birthday. The acclaimed director of such classic action and horror films/series as Halloween, The Thing, and, well, Escape from New York, turns 66 today. You’ll notice this blog has already reviewed quite a few of his greatest films. Escape from L.A. is not one of his greatest films. However, if (like me) you don’t like gory violence or spine-tingling horror, it may be your best choice after Big Trouble in Little China. You may spend the movie, however, wondering how so many big names and so much money found their way into such a bizarre and unnecessary sequel. Kurt Russell’s career was building power again after the successes of Tombstone (1993) and Stargate (1994), and based on the interview linked below, he and Carpenter may just have had a lot of good feelings about the original Escape film. Some things are best, however, with the gritty feel of a small budget picture.
This is the third in my series of reviews of films that feature men wearing leather trousers. Technically, it might be a pleather onesie, but we are going to give Snake the benefit of the doubt here. Previously: The Saint (1997)