Escape From L.A. (1996)

DVD Cover (Paramount)
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Overall Rating 54%
Overall Rating
Ranked #1,745
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Connections: Escape From New York

Snake Plissken is once again called in by the United States government to recover a potential doomsday device from Los Angeles, now an autonomous island where undesirables are deported. --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: July 08, 2007
It only took fifteen years, but here we are with the sequel to Escape From New York. Was that a movie that really needed another chapter? Not really - the original tied up all of the loose ends, and while it's always nice to see Kurt Russell in a role like this, there's simply nothing here that we hadn't already seen before (and mostly in the previous film, no less).

The year is now 2013, and much like New York, Los Angeles has now been transformed into a maximum security prison after a massive earthquake tore the entire city off of the coast. America is now a moral society with a president (Cliff Robertson) who has amended the constitution so that he could serve for life, and he's put a couple of new rules into place for the citizens to follow. Red meat, non-Christian religion, and sex before marriage are all illegal, and anyone who opposes these rules (and the thousands like them) are - surprise! - sent to Los Angeles to live out the rest of their days. Everything is right in the world if you're a Christian puritan... that is, until the president's daughter (A.J. Langer) steals a doomsday device and flees to Los Angeles to be with the boyfriend that she met in a virtual reality simulation. Oh, and her boyfriend just so happens to be Cuervo (Georges Corraface), the leader of this island who wants nothing more than to escape, and who will do whatever it takes to accomplish that - even if it means destroying civilization as we know it.

Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is called onto the scene after having gotten himself into trouble once again, and much like in the previous film, he's given an ultimatum: help the government by retrieving this device and getting out within ten hours or die a horrible death from the virus which is now coursing through his veins (placed there by the government, naturally). In exchange for his services, he'll be granted a full pardon for his crimes, yatta yatta yatta... you know where it goes from there.

With a few minor edits, I could have copied the synopsis from Escape From New York for this review and nobody would have been the wiser (assuming they didn't read that review, anyway). This is never a good thing; while a sequel should obviously retain some of the ideas and characters from the previous film, it shouldn't go about doing it in such a way so as to feel like the exact same movie done over again with "better" effects. That's sort of what this movie felt like, and frankly, I was more than a little disappointed when the credits rolled.

Those of you who haven't seen the original may enjoy this more than I did; after all, I loved the original, and this one is nothing more than a rehash of that storyline with a few new faces and a couple of minor twists along the way. While I realize that there's only so much that one can do with this concept without straying too far away from what made the original so popular, did it really have to be this much of a replica? It all goes back to what I said above - did we really need another chapter?

On the positive side, there's a whole lot of cult icons showing up in the film in one way or another. Some are semi-important to the storyline and some are only there for a second or two, but regardless, it was nice to see most of them getting another couple of minutes on the big screen. Appearing in the film is Steve Buscemi, Pam Grier, Peter Fonda, Michelle Forbes, Valeria Golino, Bruce Campbell, Robert Carradine, and Isaac Hayes, with the memorable highlights being Buscemi, Grier (as a transsexual!), and of course, Campbell.

It's fairly easy to determine whether or not you should track this down if you're one of the few who hasn't already seen it. Do you want to watch Escape From New York all over again? Instead of seeing some damned fine effects as found in the original, would you rather see a bunch of horrible CGI effects instead? Do you think that musical accompaniment that screams "Please, buy the soundtrack!" is better than an honest-to-goodness musical score? Even though Kurt Russell is great as always, the overall product really isn't worth your time unless you enjoy the feeling of "been there, done that" - and personally, I don't. 4/10.
Cryptorchild #1: Cryptorchild - added 07/09/2007, 06:28 PM
You know this is one of those movies that you've watched a few years back and you thought it was pretty kick ass. But then you watch it again when you're a little older and that's when you start to see how lame it is. It's such a cool story but the film just doesn't deliver the goods. I did however love Steve Buscemi and Bruce Campbell in it though.
Ginose #2: Ginose - added 07/16/2007, 01:58 AM
...not great... bad, even... basically I got the exact same feeling in this one that I got from the first one... it just felt empty. But you've gotta love the ending... 5.1/10
Lucid Dreams #3: Lucid Dreams - added 07/11/2010, 02:47 AM
Yeah, this was pretty bad, but the ending was pretty sweet. 4/10
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