In the not too distant future the crime level will increase
by four hundred percent turning the US into a police state. To cope with
all the criminals, the once great city of New York is turned into the country's
maximum-security prison by surrounding Manhattan Island with a fifty-foot
wall. Once you where sentenced you would never get out. When terrorists
take over Air Force One and crash it into New York, the president escapes
and is held for ransom by the prisoners. Police Commissioner Bob Hauk (Van
Cleef) is given twenty-two hours to get him out before a world summit collapses
so he forces the only man who can complete the job, Snake Plissken (Russell).
John Carpenter was the cult director of the 70s and 80s and
with hits like 'Halloween', 'The Fog', 'Assault on Precinct 13', 'Starman'
and 'The Thing' but chief amongst these was 'Escape From New York'.
When it comes to defining the cinematic anti-hero, you should
look no further than Snake Plissken. John Carpenter and his star Kurt Russell
in 1981 created a character that would become a classic. Here we have a
character that you really shouldn't like, let alone get behind. He is a
man that has taken the wrong path. A once hero who choose a criminal path
and is about to be punished for his crime, is forced into the task with
only the threat of death pushing him to do the right thing. He isn't your
all-American hero, he is selfish man who is driven to save his own skin
and the only way he can do this is to save the day.
Made for absolutely no money, this is a visually impressive
look at an alternate version of the US that many people thought might become
a reality in the early 80s. The film's only draw back is the time frame
that immediately dates the movie because it is set in 1997 but this aside
it is a still a fascinating look at an apocalyptic vision of the future.
The idea of transforming on the world's biggest and greatest cities into
a prison is a brilliant concept and Carpenter and his team transform the
Big Apple into a war zone. Ruled by the prisoners, the city is character
of its own as the team recreate famous settings that are now on the verge
Key to the success of the film is the ensemble cast. Along
with the brilliant creation of Snake Plissken, Carpenter and his creative
team have gathered together a set of memorable characters. Veteran actor
Lee Van Cleef brings some class to the production as Police Commissioner
Bob Hauk. His scenes with Plissken really set up the movie and his presence
brings something more to the film. Ernest Borgnine's Cabby brings some fun
and comedy to the film. Harry Dean Stanton and Adrienne Barbeau reluctantly
help Snake achieve his mission as Brain and Maggie. Donald Pleasence looks
suitably presidential as the US commander and chief. Isaac Hayes plays the
Duke of New York with just the right about of menace to make his a decent
'Escape from New York' lacks the big action sequences and
story development that the excellent characters and premise deserved but
you can see why the film has become a cult classic. The reason is Snake
Plissken and this is because he is one of the best cinematic anti-heroes
ever to grace the silver screen.
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic with Dolby Digital 5.1 and
dts soundtracks, the transfer is very good.
Feature Commentary with John Carpenter and Kurt Russell
The director and star of the movie come together to reminisce about the
making of 'Escape from New York'. This chatty and informative commentary
sees the two collaborators and friends covering most aspects of the film's
production. Revealing how the film came about, casting and the problems
of budget restrictions this is a very good commentary from two people
who really love the movie.
Feature Commentary with producer Debra Hill and production designer
This is a more technical commentary from long time Carpenter collaborators
Debra Hill and Joe Alves. They talk extensively about the about the St
Louis shoot and how they made the derelict areas of that city look like
the famous locations of New York were the story was set. This is a good
commentary that reveals many secrets about low budget filmmaking in the
Return to Escape from New York (23.01 mins)
Writer/director John Carpenter, co-writer Nick Castle, producer Debra
Hill, production designer Joe Alves, director of photography Dean Cundey
and stars Kurt Russell, Adrienne Barbeau, Harry Dean Stanton and Isaac
Hayes come together to reminisce about 'Escape from New York'. The group
talk about the St Louis shoot, which filled in for New York and creating
the look and style of the movie. They also discuss working with Lee Van
Cleef, Ernest Borgnine and Donald Pleasence and the main characters of
the film. The visual effects and fight choreography of the movie are also
discussed. This is a decent featurette that will please fans of the film.
Original Bank Robbery Opening Sequence (10.54 mins)
Watch the original opening that shows how Snake Plissken was captured
and ends up on the way to New York.
Snakes Bites, Theatrical and Promo Trailers (4.49 mins)
Watch the promotional and montage trailers that were used to promote the
This is a descent DVD package for the cult classic. With two commentary
tracks and an informative featurette, fans of the film should be pleased
with the package. The inclusion of a dts track is also a very welcome
one making this the best version of the film you will see.
Home | Hush, Hush... | The
Big Story | The Usher Speaks
@ Home | Coming Soon | Links
| Contact the Usher