Escape from New York (1981)

Once upon a time, I had watched Escape from New York. I want to say it was late in my teenage years or as a young adult, so nothing about the movie appealed to me. I didn’t fully understand or appreciate all the themes that John Carpenter wrote into this brilliant film. 

Last night while browsing for a New York-based movie to review for today, I said why not give this movie a second chance. I was genuinely amazed by the story and couldn’t wait for the next minute to unfold. 

Kurt Russell has always been one of my favourite actors. Meanwhile, the Halloween franchise has been my favourite horror movies since my childhood. So when you put Russell in with the mastermind behind Halloween, and several of the franchises’ first characters like Donald Pleasence, Tom Akins, and Charles Cyphers, you can see I had no problem getting invested in the story.

Now that I’ve matured and visited the Big Apple several times over, I can understand all the landmarks and reference points. Escape from New York made it fun to picture the city I so love in a different light. 

I also loved the simplicity of it all. Russell plays a guy named Snake, who is about to banished to the island of misfits, only to be offered a deal to avoid imprisonment. He’s able to sneak in undetected and uses “advanced” technology to find the missing U.S. President, played by Pleasence. The run time, 1:38, doesn’t allow for a whole lot of extra circular activities, and the mission is carried out swiftly. 

Of course, in any situation like this, someone will rise to the top and claim alpha dog status. At the end of it all, it really doesn’t matter. Even though the film is a little dated (1981), the story still felt ahead of its time with special effects. Like I said earlier, I barely remember anything about the film, which allowed me to appreciate it so much more today.

I’d recommend Escape from New York for a variety of reasons. I know if you give the film some time, you may be impressed like I was and like so many others. 8/10


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