Escape From L.A. (1996)

In this better-late-than-never sequel to his 1981 cult classic 
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, director John Carpenter has envisioned the 
future of Los Angeles as an island penal colony for America's least 
wanted.  In the year 2013, any citizen caught engaging in acts 
illegal, immoral, or fattening is expelled from the country.  That 
is, unless they choose electrocution over deportation.  Zap.  Into 
this picture steps "Snake" Plissken (Kurt Russell), that one-eyed, 
whispering wonder who, again, is in the custody of the United 
States Police Force.  Like last time, the deal goes something like 
this:  Snake has ten hours to land on Los Angeles Island, recover a 
mysterious "black box" that was stolen by the President's radical 
daughter, and return with the goods in hand.  If he's a good boy, 
he'll be given both a pardon and an antidote to the deadly virus 
that he's been intentionally infected with.  Sound familiar?  

In addition to the ripe right-wing references and about a thousand 
brutal barbs aimed at Southern California-- how well will jokes 
about aftershocks, immigrants, and plastic surgery play in Peoria, 
anyway?-- we're also treated to such schlocky sights as a collapsed 
Capital Records building, a sunken Santa Monica Freeway, and an 
underwater Universal Studios.  Just ask for Babs.  The tone is 
expectedly tongue-in-cheek and a spirit of anarchy pervades nearly 
every scene.  And, yet, even with a super-cool supporting cast 
(Peter Fonda, Steve Buscemi, Pam Grier, to name a few), the movie 
just doesn't *move*.  Call it what you will-- flat, under-powered, 
a long sit, slower than a slow-moving white Bronco-- but ESCAPE 
FROM L.A. is a risky recommendation at best.  Unless you're a fan 
of the original, you might want to skip this one.  (Rated "R"/100 

Grade: C+

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: August 12, 1996

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