|ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (director/writer: John Carpenter; screenwriter: Nick Castle; cinematographer: Dean Cundey; editor: Todd Ramsay; music: John Carpenter/Alan Howarth; cast: Kurt Russell (Snake Plissken), Lee Van Cleef (Bob Hauk), Ernest Borgnine (Cabbie), Donald Pleasence (President of the United States), Isaac Hayes (Duke of New York), Harry Dean Stanton (Brain); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Larry Franco/Debra Hill; MGM Home Entertainment (Avco Embassy); 1981)|
pic functions well as both a prison escape
drama and as an escapist film. It's far
from a great film, but is entertaining and
pleasantly cynical despite being so bleak."
by Dennis Schwartz
on Precinct 13"/"Vampires") slickly directs and
co-writes with Nick Castle this inventive escapist
futuristic melodramatic science fiction film
on urban decay.
1997, because of the country's high crime rate, the
island of Manhattan has become a security prison, with
no way to leave it. There are no services on
the island and no work. When Air Force One crashes on
the island, the prisoners hold the U.S. Prez (Donald
Pleasence) for ransom. The resourceful
one time military hero, Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell),
now a fallen man, is beginning a life
sentence for a gold heist. He's offered an
immediate pardon by the Feds to rescue the President
within 24 hours.
guards supervise the joint from a central command
post on Liberty Island. There are also radar
stations that face the shore lines and there are
regular helicopter patrols overhead. There's a
monthly food-drop over Central Park.
colorful characters in the pic that should grab your
attention are the following: The vicious
Duke of New York (Isaac Hayes) drives around the
city's ruins with his posse in a limo decorated
with crystal chandeliers on either side of the
front hood. Harry
Dean Stanton is called the Brain and acts as the
Duke's chief demolitions expert. Adrienne
Barbeau is the Brain's mistress. For comic
relief, Ernest Borgnine plays
a NYC cabbie.
pic functions well as both a prison escape drama
and as an escapist film. It's far from a great
film, but is entertaining and pleasantly cynical
despite being so bleak.
REVIEWED ON 10/5/2015 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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