Kurt Russell in 'Escape from LA' reprises NY version- so-so

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Coming up:
Crooked Stilo to play LA's Knitting Factory in Hollywood 

Yes, it's true. Plissken is baaack.

Sometimes you can run across fun movie classics on late night cable TV.

From IMDB.com:
"Fifteen years after John Carpenter squandered a great idea on a mediocre movie (Escape from New York), he does it again--this time on the Left Coast.

ESCAPE fromLA.jpg"Kurt Russell is back as the terminally cynical one-eyed action hero Snake Plissken who, this time, has been coerced into saving the world in Los Angeles. It's 2013 and L.A. is now an island maximum-security prison off the coast of California. Snake has 10 hours to find a doomsday weapon that's fallen into the hands of revolutionaries before he dies of a virus with which he's been injected.

"But the action is clumsy and unimaginative: lots of shootouts and very little suspense. Even the bad guys aren't particularly inventive; only Pam Grier, as a transsexual gang leader, strikes any sparks. Russell growls his way through the role but can only blame himself: He cowrote the script with Carpenter. --Marshall Fine "

Yes, this is the cinematic fun stuff you can always catch on late night cable TV.

Well...the scenes may be more corny and squalid (compared to the original cyberpunk version) from an esthetic standpoint but the movie- a cult classic -- is still entertaining.

EscapefromLA 51QK24REW7L__SS500_ 315.JPGPlissken (Russell) is older, more cynical than his previous role in the New York version. But he still commands the screen. The movie is told through his perspective - as a noble but burnt-out man trying to salvage one last assignment at the government's bidding for a chance to live.

Along the way he encounters every specimen of dastardly vagrant, villain, and vermin.

But Plissken (Russell) is unfazed and he's nonchalant at every turn. It's his disinterest and cool detachment that makes him such a compelling character.

Critics were not so kind on the film chopping it up, some calling Plissken a "middle finger-type of character."

Keep in mind the directors obviously didn't take this as a serious movie, as jokes abound. One good zinger of a line: "This is LA, and this ****ing city can kill anyone!"

Other high points include the scene where he comes across a character named Pipeline (Peter Fonda). Peter Fonda? It is surreal.

After meeting him, Fonda says "I thought you would be taller."


SnakePlissken.jpgThe weak soundtrack, mostly a mish mash of heavy metal and rock-metal, blurs into a forgettable mush.

The scene inside the fancy club where Plisskenkin asks for the bad guy Cuervo Jones. recalls "Thunderdome" with all its freaky characters.

The villain, Cuervo Jones is intrigiung. all of the first 10 minutes. After that he becomes a cartoon character devoid of brains, character or personality. In a B movie, what's new right?

Cliff Robertson is wasted as the extreme right-wing President here. Stacy Keach is,..well Stacy Keach. Here he's in the police commander role that Lee Van Cleef played in the original.

It's always a Whhaatt??- double-take moment when you run across grade A actors in grade B flicks.

The movie comes alive again when Steve Buscemi (yes) appears as Map to the Stars Eddie. Buscemi is a quick-witted, acid-tongued hustler. Think of him as the taxi cab driver (Ernest Borgnine) character in "Escape from NY." A nice surprise is Valeria Golino appearing as the savvy but short-lived chick Taslima.

Overall the movie is a disappointment for those who awaited the sequel - unimaginative script, excessive violence, superfluous characters - but it does have its entertaining moments. If you see it in a new light - as a comic rehash -- and with friends -- you'll really enjoy it. There's comical scenes, sheer stupidity (lots), dumb but funny moments.

I'v seen the movie several times but last night I noticed for the first time, the resemblance in some scenes to the "Terminator" series in its depiction of a future wasteland.

There's always some movie classics on tap on fave channels like AMC, TNT, etc., and every now and then you get a memorable movie you just have to comment on like "Escape from NY."

You seen it? You got comments? You got movie jokes?

Go ahead and leave them.


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This page contains a single entry by Ramiro Burr published on October 19, 2008 2:14 AM.

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