Escape from New York

Year: 1981
Production Co: AVCO Embassy Pictures
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: John Carpenter/Nick Castle
Cast: Kurt Russell, Donald Pleasance, Lee Van Cleef, Isaac Hayes, Ernest Borgnine, Harry Dean Stanton

Carpenter's first real foray into action was a workable idea given his signature bleak execution. I've never been entirely sure of his casting of Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken. Russell was better as Jack in Big Trouble in Little China because he took the machismo to comic extremes and didn't take Jack seriously, Carpenter letting the script trip him up plenty of times. Whenever I remember this film I think about a younger, leaner, more mobile Schwarzenegger in the role.

In a perhaps slightly subtextual statement about the state of New York City in the early 80s (as films like Death Wish showcased), Carpenter's near future shows the whole island cordoned off as a maximum security prison, most of the scum inside left to rot. But when the US President's plane crashes there, tough prisoner Plissken is sprung and told he'll go free if he infiltrates the island and rescues the President. And this all happens, don't forget, in 1997.

© 2011-2024 Filmism.net. Site design and programming by psipublishinganddesign.com | adambraimbridge.com | humaan.com.au