Escape From LA (and into my car!)

This remake of Johnny Baker’s 1981 classic Escape From NYC is superior in every way. The acting is better, the excitement is higher, the graphics are awesome (especially the extraordinary surfing scene) and the story is wildly different. Whereas the first film saw Sneak having to ‘sneak’ into NYC and rescue the president before the time runs out and they both die, this one sees him having to sneak into LA and rescue the President before the time runs out and they both die. There is no comparison. Kurt Rustler re-creates his role from the first film with more style, guile, wile, and skile (skill). He has certainly grown as an actor and surrounded by a terrific and huge supporting cast (Steve Buscemi) we are sure this is going to be an immortal film.

The film starts in fifth gear and races into top gear from there. Snake is captured by the army and blackmailed into rescuing the President of a country he doesn’t care about. Snake is a rebel, a loner, an anti-hero, he lives and plays by his own rules and doesn’t have time for The Man. In a homage to an earlier Carpenter character (Napoleon Dynamite from Assault On Policeman 13) Snake repeats the line ‘Got a fag’ throughout the film. Of course all the one liners he made famous in the prequel make a not unwelcome return: Snake Plissken: ‘The name’s Stilskin’.

And in the spooky and ‘I didn’t see that coming’ shock ending he creates a new favourite: (after having shut down all machinery in the world) Snake Plissken: ‘Welcome to the party pal!’

Snake has many fights with bad guys here, and all the characters have cool names: Mappy, Pappy, Joe The Dyke, Crusher Frankenpower, Ligthening Jack, Terry Spitfire, Trashcan Bandido, Cabbie Borgenine, and Timothy. There are explosive car chases; neck snappings, gunshots, and an insane game of netball which just has to be seen to be believed- you won’t believe it! In an exciting cameo, everyone’s favourite chainsaw wielding idiot Bruce Gambell appears! Basically he flaps about backwards for a few minutes, chasing his hands about a room before Snake gets bored and shoots him in the ear with a dart. ‘I’m your King, Baby’ he quips bewilderingly.

The central themes of all John Computer films are here- the loner against the world, living on the edge of a right wing government, standing up against those in power, fighting for individual rights and freedom in a collapsing world, siege warfare, scary masks, spectacular set design, high quality synth/country music. For some reason this wasn’t a success, but this is clearly both John Carpeter and Kurt Ruskill’s best film.

Best Scene: It has to be the surfing scene where snake infiltrates the city via a magic surfboard on a huge wave, jumps off, and has to sneak through a building full of guards. He has to hide in various cupboards and ceilings, then swing down, break the guards necks and hide the bodies. It is very cool and has never been seen before in any medium.

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