Sunday, December 12, 2010

ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981) - Snake Plissken. Need I say more?


The first thing that I'll say about this movie is this: the Escape From New York poster is one of the coolest film posters ever made. It's just out there, and everything about it is just class. It even influenced the movie Cloverfield, in which the monster rips off the Statue of Liberty's head and chucks it across New York at some annoying hipsters. Badass. Anyways, about the movie itself. It's got Kurt Russell in it. It's a product of the 80s. . Oh yeah, and it's also directed by John Carpenter, who made The Thing and Halloween. Put two and two together and you know you're in for one hell of a great cult classic

400%? Hmm... still safer than Fresno, California.
Escape from New York takes place in a dystopian future for the United States. World War III has been going on for a few years, cities have been burned to ashes, millions of people nuked, and both the Americans and Russians are trying to finally end the war. Because of the decay of American society and the crime increase, the entire city of New York has been turned into an enormous prison, surrounded by guys with machine guns, barbed wire fences, and a huge concrete wall. Inside, there are no guards and no authority: the prisoners are free to do whatever the hell they want. The city has basically been left to fend for itself and anyone caught inside is, well... shit out of luck, as they say.

Kurt Russell wearing an eye patch. Awesome? Why, yes. Yes it is.
Of course, this becomes a big problem when Air Force One is shot down en-route to some international conference, and the President's escape pod ends up landing somewhere inside the rapist and murderer infested city. It's up to the government to find a way to rescue the president before the deadline to his speech with the Russians, or else something bad might happen. I guess something worse than World War III, if there is such a thing. Oh well. The government turns to a convict, Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), who is an ex-commando and generally an all around badass. The thing is, Snake doesn't give a damn about the president, or his country, for that matter.

The police commisioner Hauk (Lee Van Cleef) offers Snake a deal: in return for saving the president and the data he was carrying with him, he'll be given a full pardon and be made a free man. Snake reluctantly agrees, and is about to head out to start the mission when Hauk pulls a fast one on him and informs him the government has injected a small bomb into his artery, which will explode in 24 hours. If he wants to live, he better bring the president back in one piece or they won't dis-activate it. Those bastards...

The best thing about the 80s was the hair. The worst thing? Also the hair.
Snake is sent off to find the president. He sneaks into New York with a glider, landing on the World Trade Center, and thus starts his epic adventure across the shithole that was once a city. Escape from New York relies very heavily on Russell's performance as a somewhat likable anti-hero. It's a good thing though, since Snake is such a cool character. He is just apathetic about everything. He doesn't mind shooting someone in the face, and his only motivation to get out of NY with the president is to get his revenge on that bastard Hauk who back stabbed him. The dystopian New York is as big a character as well. It's a dirty, menacing place overflowing with pyschos and degenerates. John Carpenter keeps things interesting and avoids slowing down the pace in exchange for some great action scenes and suspense. The main theme music is a classic too. I'll hear it sometimes on TV or in the background somewhere and always reminds me of what a great movie this is.

If you love action movies and haven't seen Escape yet, you definitely should. It's a bit grittier than most other 80s movies, and has a distinct feel to it, but it is a fun ride and worth it just to see Kurt Russell at his prime before he did family dramas and Disney crap like Sky High.

TL;DR - An angry, eye-patch wearing Kurt Russell shoots, stabs, and punches his way through New York to rescue the president. Greatness follows. - 9.5/10

21 comments:

  1. By far one of Kurt Russell's best movies save for Big Trouble in Little China and Backdraft

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  2. I'm pretty sure I saw this, but I'm also pretty sure I was intoxicated, so I'll take another look. Also useful for picking up pointers for surviving the coming apocalypse.

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  3. The movie poster does like very cool. Based on your review, I might look into it. thanks.

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  4. this was before my time, but im gonna check it out right now. kurt russel is the man

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  5. He's an under-rated actor. Shame he didn't get many parts. I enjoyed Soldier too.

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  6. jesus that dude with the eyepatch is hard as fuck

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  7. hm, gonna check but doubt i like it

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  8. great movie, the sequal was not as good, i thought it was called the same thing. i just remember him surfing at one point in the canal... (oh yah it was escape from LA this time) and it looked super cheesey. but w/e! cant watch anything that derives from the 80s and not have it be cheesey.

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  9. 8/10 ? Hmm, sounds good might check it out

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  10. i wonder how many movies in total have featured the statue of liberty beheaded. enough to be considered a cliche, for me at least.

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  11. ^ Cloverfield haha.

    Didn't they base Solid Snake on this guy?

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  12. @ Peacock, yeah I think that it was a mix of both Snake Plissken and Michael Bienh's character in The Terminator.

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  13. Just read this review, I haven't seen it in a long time, makes me want to watch it again. This was definitely Kurt Russel's prime.

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  14. Why isn't Snake Plissken up there on your Row of Badasses? Come on man! He deserves to be drawn.

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