Escape from New York is one of the best films that John Carpenter has ever directed. A low budget science fiction action film that's still cool today. Kurt Russell also earns a life time man card for breathing life into one of the greatest anti-heroes to ever grace their presence upon the silver screen. During the eighties, John Carpenter produced several classic films. A few of them are highly underrated and they have been dismissed by the critics and viewing public.
The film takes place in "The Future". Manhattan Island has become a federal prison for undesirables. The United States has become a conservative country and has been on the brink of war with it's enemies. During a hairy negotiation period, the President's plane was hijacked by a group of left-wing radicals. But the plane was knocked out of commission and the President's(Donald Pleasance) escape pod has landed inside the walls of New York Federal Prison. The government is desperate and they'll do anything to try and save the world from a nuclear meltdown. Prison officials have designated a new convict Snake Plisken (Kurt Russell) to take the deadly assignment. A reluctant Snake takes the assignment but he's given something by the warden (Lee Van Cleef) that'll force him to co-operate.
After hang gliding inside the prison. Snake uses a transmitter that's supposed to lead him to the President's body. But all he finds is a drunk who's wearing the President's transmitter. Whilst searching the city, Snake finds a few allies (Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau, Ernest Borgnine) who'll help him for a promise of release. We learn that most of the convicts are followers of a mad man who calls himself The Duke (Issac Hayes). But he's captured by the Duke and is brutalized by a nasty man (Ox Baker) before he has to suck it up and kill the dude. Snake fights his way out of New York Penal Colony. He survives with the President, but at what cost? His friends are dead and the President shrugs them off and addressed the nation and the world. With the President is a brief case that has a message on an audio cassette that'll save the world. The President and his men look for the tape but they can't find it (That was the whole purpose of the mission, not to rescue the President but the find the tape). While they continue to search for it, Snake pulls the cassette from his pocket and yanks out the precious ribbon and rips it to shreds. The fate of the World lied with it. A somber Snake walks off into the darkness of night.
Awesome! If you ever wanted to see a cool nihilistic action film, then look no further. John Carpenter would later create an even more depressing film with his remake of THE THING
John Carpenter has turned out some excellent low-budget cult classics over the years. Assault on Precinct 13, They Live, Big Trouble in Little China... (Edit: Originally listed The Thing as a low-budget film, as the comments point out, for it's time it was not) But probably the best out of all of his works, in my humble opinion (well, I guess it can't be that humble, I feel the need to tell all of you about it!) is the aforementioned Escape … more
Bigger is not always better and remakes often are better left unmade sometimes. Case in point, John Carpenter got a big budget to make Escape from LA 17 years after he made his low budget classic Escape from New York. It was almost the same movie but with a garish budget and a largely recycled story. It pales in comparison to this one. In the opening credits, the stage is set for us, in the near future (1988) the crime in the US rose exponentially … more