Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Escape from New York (1981)

Let's set the stage for this one.  Yes, John Carpenter is probably my favorite director.  Yes, I think Kurt Russell is an epic leading man, and if we're talking about one of those movies he made with Carpenter, forget about it.  With Escape from New York, Carpenter offered up a dark and witty smash hit and Russell sank his teeth into one of the coolest parts ever as rugged anti-hero Snake Plissken.  The movie is absurd, and it is quite amusing to see our distant past grossly misrepresented as the distant future (the film was shot in 1980 and set in 1997), but it's all in fun.  True story: I once referred to this picture as a cult classic in the presence of a couple of friends who acted like I had gone insane.  They seemed to think it was garbage.  This didn't change my opinion of the movie at all, but it did convince me that these particular buddies of mine didn't know shit about movies.  Seriously, what's missing?  We've got a great hero, an insane plot, a wicked setting, an imposing villain, and a bunch of unique supporting characters to keep things popping.  In Escape from New York, Manhattan has become a maximum security prison, surrounded by a massive wall and patrolled by helicopters that gun down anyone looking to escape.  This seems like a good idea right up until the president's plane crashes in this gruesome wasteland and a desperate rescue attempt ensues.  The only man for the job is Snake Plissken, a decorated veteran and a notorious criminal who everyone believes to be dead.  Carpenter slays it with sublime direction and another of his awesome scores.  Escape from New York is very silly, but it's also very suspenseful when it isn't borderline hilarious, and it oozes cool from start to finish.  Most importantly, it's Kurt Russell's show, and it is entirely possible that this was his finest hour.  Escape from New York is a fantastic motion picture that never fails to entertain, and I can't recommend it highly enough.
Former Disney star Kurt Russell hits the mark as the one and only Snake Plissken

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