Escape From New York

Release Date: 7/10/81 –  Rated R

Starring: Kurt Russell (Overboard), Lee Van Cleef (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)

Plot Summary: It’s the distant future of 1997, the island of Manhattan has been turned into a maximum security prison.  It just so happens that Air Force 1 has been hijacked directly over the island, and the president is forced to use an escape pod (which looks like a big orange egg, really?) before the plane is crashed into a building.  Is it still too soon?  It’s up to fugitive and general asshole Snake Plissken to go in and save the prez.  He doesn’t have much of a choice as the head of the prison has injected him with small explosives to be sure he cooperates; he has 24 hours to get in and find the  president, and a cassette tape in his possession, and get out.

The president is being held by The Duke of New York (Issac Hayes), and The Duke try to trade the president’s life for all of the prisoner’s freedom.  Snake eventually finds the president with some help of some of the less insane prisoners, only to be captured and forced to fight Zangef in some gladiatorial match.  He wins, of course, and he’s again on the hunt for the president.  Finding him in the custody of the inmates who helped in the first place they all try making a run for it, only to be killed off one by one until only Plissken and the president remain.  They succeed in scaling a wall and escaping New York, just like the name of the movie! 

Alex’s Thoughts:  Dammit this movie is not good, at all.  The story is good, and the anti-hero of Snake Plissken is great; but this just isn’t pulled off well.  The effects are awful, the dialog is thoughtless and although there are decent actors in it, it seems like they are just there for the paycheck.  Pass. 

Tim’s Thoughts:I love the idea, I love the character, but like Alex, I do not love this movie. Plissken is such a great badass, and the movie is just bad. It’s sequel is way worse, despite an appearance by Bruce Campbell, and somehow I love this character still. Anyways Carpenter seems to be a hit and miss kind of guy, Halloween was great, Halloween 3 on up….crap. Vampires was fun, Ghosts of Mars….hot garbage. I could go on and on, but what’s the point? Besides we still have guys like Carpenter and Romero to do that for us. I will watch just about anything he puts his name on once, and sometimes only once. If you’ve never seen it, and you are trying for some cult movie night, I guess this is okay, but maybe you should let the legend of the movie be as all legends should, left to the imagination and never tested. The proof is in the pudding, and this pudding is tuna flavored.

Final Thoughts: The movie is extremely dated, and probably was so only a few months after it’s release.  With a promising cast, main character and creative story, we just expected a lot more.  We say escape to find a better movie, and leave New York alone.  Also, don’t even consider watching the sequel – Escape From L.A.  it is practically a re-make, and is worse, if that’s possible.

Alex rates This Movie 3/10

Tim Rates This Movie 4/10

“I guess I go in one way or the other… doesn’t mean shit to me. All right… I’ll do it.”

View the IMDB entry for this movie here