Escape from L.A.
Dir: John Carpenter
Star: Kurt Russell, Stacy Keach, Cliff Robertson, Steve Buscemi, Georges Corraface
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 1996
Format: DVD R2

In 1997 the president of the United States was rescued from the prison of Manhattan island New York by legendary ex soldier and criminal Snake Plissken. In 2000 an earthquake separated Los Angles from the mainland of the USA and it has been turned into a prison for anyone the state thinks is undesirable. It is now 2013 and the presidentís daughter has stolen a doomsday weapon and fled to the island of Los Angles to give it to terrorist Cuervo Jones. Only one man can go in and get the weapon back and he has only 9 hours to do it or die. You can call him Snake.

Escape from New York was a brilliant film and one of John Carpenter's best, so it was genuinely exciting that a sequel was to be made. The central character of Snake Plissken was a superb anti-hero and allowed for loads of scope for new adventures. With Kurt Russell happy to reprise the role things were looking good. Unfortunately this is where the good news ends, as Escape from L.A. turned out not to be a new movie but a poor retelling of the original.

What a swizz, of all hundreds of things you could have done with Snake the best that they could come up with was a repeat of the original movie. Ok so there are some changes but for the most part they are cosmetic. For example the glider is replace by a sub, the ring fight with a basketball game, and Cabbie by Map to the Stars Eddie. The same major scenes happen in the same order, it's almost the same film with a bigger budget.

This leads to the biggest disappointment of all and that is the fact is despite the bigger budget this film is nowhere near as good as the original. Whereas the original was dark and realistically gritty, this one is high camp. In places the film is just plain silly with the farcical surfing scene and the glider attack being the worst offenders. The costumes, the characters, and the set bound locations all add to this overall feeling of daftness.

In fact the budget has if anything hindered the film. It has paid for sets rather than real life locations, and they just aren't as effective. Add to this that compared to the original the scenes are over lit (even though they are meant to be filmed at night) and it is easy to easy why the dark oppressive atmosphere has been lost. Coupled to this are the less than effective special effects, which range from ok for the vehicles to awful during the surfing scene. It is a real let down and a fair amount of blame has to fall on John Carpenter who it would seem is not a director that suits a big budget.

Maybe this is all a little harsh, as there are plus points. Kurt Russell is again superb as Snake, and the character once again proves to be the coolest anti-hero to ever wear an eye patch. The Bangkok rules shootout shows us that Snake hasn't lost his touch. The surgeon general of Beverly Hills is also great idea (played by our favorite Bruce Campbell) providing the ultimate freak show of plastic surgery taken to the limits. The finest moment in the film though is the outstanding ending, its very dark and very cool, its a shame the rest of the film isn't this good.

Escape from L.A. is a missed opportunity. Instead of taking the great central character of Snake Plissken and doing something new Carpenter and co has just regurgitated the original film. Unfortunately the copy is nowhere as good as the original. It's too bright and too silly with some lamentable special effects. There is still some of the original magic left but the overall effect has been lost. If you take my advice you'll stay away from this a stick with Escape from New York.


Snake Is Back.


Snake: Call me Snake!

Rating: 1 out of 5

Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic Well upto standard
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Not bad there are some nice sound effects
Features Trailer
Verdict Ok so this is not a great film so maybe the lack of extras is excusable. But I would have loved another Carpenter - Russell audio commentary track.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Theme Back Top Home