Escape From New York (1981)

With John Carpenter's ESCAPE FROM L.A. due in August, I thought I'd 
revisit the original.  (Does it warrant a sequel?  No, not really.)  
The premise was always a corker:  in 1997, the island of Manhattan 
is the country's sole maximum-security prison.  Once you go in, you 
never come out.  So, when a hijacked Air Force One crashes "inside 
the walls," the United States Police Force commissioner (Lee Van 
Cleef) turns to a soon-to-be-incarcerated Special Forces operative 
(a raspy Kurt Russell) for help.  Despite the dandy set-up, ESCAPE 
FROM NEW YORK is unusually uninvolving.  The plot moves, but the 
atmosphere makes a stronger impression than any of the characters.  
(The political subtext is also under-developed.)  Based on such B-
movie evidence, I suspect that Carpenter may be attempting a 
*remake* rather than a strict sequel.  We'll see.  ESCAPE FROM NEW 
YORK also stars Donald Pleasence, Issac Hayes, Ernest Borgnine, 
Season Hubley, Harry Dean Stanton, and Adrienne Barbeau's chest.  
(Rated "R"/102 min.)

Grade: B-

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: April 14, 1996

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