Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Escape From New York(1981)

Escape from New York has to be one of my favorite movies first and  for most. reason being do to the fact that it was Directed by one of my favorite Directors John Carpenter and Stars one of the best movie/action stars over the past 30+ years Kurt Russell(Ok enough of that on to the review)

Escape from New York is a Action film/Sci Fi film/Horror film/Political Film all wrapped up into one. its the story of Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) in the first of 3 iconic roles that he would play for John Carpenter. 

The story is set in the future 1997(at the time the film was made it was the future) where New York has been turned into a prison and a huge wall keeps the prisoners inside, even though a few try to escape in the opening of the film but don't succeed.

The President(Donald Pleasance) is aboard Air Force One when it is hijacked by terrorist, The President narrowly escapes the plane in his escape pod with a briefcase  handcuffed to his wrist (which plays important part later on) he is captured by the inmates not for ransom or for leverage to get a release, but just so they can say that they have The President  and there is nothing that anybody can do about it.

Hauk(Lee Van Cleef) runs the prison from the outside and decides to bring in his last resort in the form of anti hero Snake Plissken, who was going into New York (at the time of it's release an unknown crime) Snake is taking to see Hauk who gives him this mission to bring The President out alive and with whatever is inside the briefcase he has.

Snake reluctantly accepts to go in to rescue him, but Hauk doesn't trust Snake as far as he can toss him  by giving him a 24 hour window or he himself will die. Snake in a no win situation goes in to the hellish world that New York has become on his journey to find The President he comes across a cast of characters that help make this movie great Cabbie(Ernest Borgnine), Brain(Harry Dean Stanton, Maggie(Adrienne Barbeau),The Duke(Isaac Hayes)

John Carpenter does a great job with how he creates this prison world where people will do anything to survive and will double and trouble cross people in order to stay alive, and to have the only person that's in this world (Snake Plissken) be the only one who is has a moral code even though he's a anti hero which is showed early on in the film by how he just walks by as he sees a group of guys raping a woman, he just moves on because its not his fight.

One sequence that kinda shows that Carpenter hasn't gone to far away from his horror roots is where a cannibal group known only as The Crazies comes out and has a run in with Snake. I would've liked to have seen more interaction with them in this movie but this isn't fully a horror film.but little scenes like that and another fight to the death scene which occurs later in the film makes this movie that just more enjoyable.

the writing once again by Carpenter (who doesn't get the respect he deserves as a writer who i believe is a better)Writer then Director and he's a damn good Director as well.which is Co written by long time friend and original Shape in Halloween Nick Castle,the script is very well written, but brought to life by the wonderful cast that surrounds Kurt Russell(who i'll talk about later) Lee Van Cleef is very good in his turn as the man who runs the Prison and somewhat foe of Snake and has a future Snake if his life had went another way then it turned out.

Harry Dean Stanton(Brain),Adrienne Barbeau(Maggie),Ernest Borgnine(Cabbie),Tom Atkins(Rehme),Charles Cyphers(Secretary of State) and Isaac Hayes(The Duke) all turn in great supporting performances and all shine in the screen time that they are given, but it would've been nice to have seen more of Tom Atkins and Charles (if you blink you'd miss) Cyphers.

Kurt Russell turns in one of his best performances he doesn't say a whole lot, but in this movie he doesn't have too...from the first moment you see him, you know that this guy is a badass. one thing i enjoyed is what Carpenter/Russell decided to do with the Snake Plissken character by making him a futuristic old west gunslinger type IE Clint Eastwood. not to mention the fact that Lee Van Cleef is in this movie makes it all the better when those two share the screen.

The ending to the movie is somewhat a typical Carpenter ending meaning what exactly was the point of going in to get The President with everything that's explained and found out, and why did some people have to die in order to save this guy who isn't really that great of a guy, i know it was probably Carpenters way of throwing jabs at the government which at that time was just the beginning of the Reagan Era, he would really get a good shot at that Era with a later film(They Live)

If your a fan of John Carpenter, Kurt Russell, Escape/survival films then i highly recommend watching Escape from New York

No comments:

Post a Comment