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Escape from New York
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19 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Frustratingly mediocre

5/10
Author: Edward Turner (tedurner@yahoo.com) from England
5 April 2000

Before 1981 and Escape from New York, John Carpenter had already scored huge hits and all time classics with Dark Star, Assault on Prescient 13 and Halloween. Why on earth he didn't opt for higher budgets is anyone's guess, because Escape from New York squanders a brilliant premise on shortages of budget, imagination and action. Kurt Russell impersonates Clint Eastwood as Snake Plissken: a convicted criminal who is sent into New York in 1997, which is now America's one and only maximum security prison, to rescue the President (Pleasence) whose plane has crashed. The film plays like a futuristic western, with Lee Van Cleef overseeing the operation from the control room, making the film's roots in Sergio Leone apparent. To be fair to Carpenter, he manages a lot on the $6 million budget: a great, dark look to the film, a panoramic cityscape, good special effects, impressive sets, a couple of effective action sequences, a script laced with black humour as well a great main theme. As a whole these elements make the film reasonably enjoyable. However it simply isn't enough. The film never fulfils its ingenious premise by not making use of Snake's time limit to complete the mission until the very end and as a result it spends a long time just not going anywhere. There's not enough action and the bad guys are a bunch of lacklustre convicts, lead by Isaac Hayes. Carpenter fans may lap it up as B-movie hokum, but for the rest of us, this should have been a serious slice of action cinema. 5/10

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A classic film John Carpenter's the best Action Sci-Fi flick

10/10
Author: ivo-cobra8 from Slovenia
15 October 2015

Escape from New York is a 1981 American dystopian action film co-written, co-scored, and directed by John Carpenter.A classic film. Escape From New York (1981) Is also one of my favorite classic Action Sci-Fi John Carpenter movies. It was also the first movie I ever saw from John Carpenter as a child and It I still the best movie in my opinion. I love this movie to death I own it on Blu-ray tough it doesn't have great video quality like it should have I still love it to death. Kurt Russell is Snake Plissken period! Also Lee Van Cleef Is also in it from a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly I just love those Western movies to death. Adrienne Barbeau from The Fog is also in it and she is the beautiful, but deadly Maggie.

The plot is set more in the future American by the late 90's. In 1997, when the US President crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in for a rescue. In a world ravaged by crime, the entire island of Manhattan has been converted into a prison which houses the world's most brutal inmates. And when the President of the United States crash lands inside, only one man can bring him back: Snake Plissken, a notorious outlaw and former Special Forces war hero who, in exchange for a full pardon, descends into the decayed city and wages a blistering war against the captors. But time is short: in 24 hours, an explosive charge planted inside Snake's body will end the mission -- and his life -- unless he succeeds.

You've got Kurt Russell, wearing a freaking eye patch and toting a massive assault rifle, squatting in the middle of a fire. You know, just taking it easy, popping a squat while the city burns around him. Non-plussed. Chillaxed. In the background, Lady Liberty's decapitated head lies in the middle of the street, her copper-green eyes staring vacantly up into a crowded, off-kilter skyline. What the hell happened, I wondered. I'd have to wait for Cloverfield to find out, because, as it turns out, that nifty piece of poster art—while summing up the film's nothing is sacred attitude and permanently establishing Kurt Russell as an icon of badass - has no relation to the film's plot. When I finally managed to see the movie, I kept waiting for Lady Liberty's head to get blown off, but it never happened. I was a little disappointed. And in a way, that's still how I feel about Escape From New York. The premise is a near-perfect action movie set-up, and the world that John Carpenter creates has so much potential for edge-of- your-seat storytelling, but the end result doesn't fully deliver on its promise. But that's not to say that it doesn't have its moments of undiluted awesomeness. Long proclaimed as an action film cult classic, there's surprisingly little action in Escape From New York, at least, not of the Michael Bay, in your face, two explosions per minute variety, the kind to which today's Rockstar-infused audiences are acclimated. Watching the film now, nearly thirty years after it hit theaters in 1981, EFNY seems curiously slow-paced. Snake limps through the city, occasionally bopping a guy in the face, occasionally busting a cap.

The film is John Carpenter best work I have seen, there are some other films I don't like, Escape From New York (1981) is one of the best cult classic films from John carpenter and Kurt Russell. Kurt Russell's iconic character of all time Snake Plissken is his best roles of all time on the screen, I have ever seen. I also love the sequel to death the same as I love this film. Snake Plissken is an ex-soldier turned criminal, recruited/blackmailed into rescuing a hostage president from the prison of New York City. Lee Van Cleef as Bob Hauk New York Police Commissioner did a great job portraying one of the most memorable characters. I wish he would return in the sequel but he couldn't because 8.later the actor died. Rest in peace Lee.

I love main theme music from John Carpenter and Alan Howarth and I enjoy some action scenes performed from Kurt Russell in the film.

I love this film to death and It is my favorite action science fiction flick of all time I love it.

10/10 Grade: A+ Studio: MGM Home Entertainment Starring: Kurt Russell,Lee Van Cleef,Ernest Borgnine,Donald Pleasence,Isaac Hayes, Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau and Tom Atkins Director: John Carpenter Producers: Larry J. Franco, Debra Hill Screenplay: John Carpenter Nick Castle Rated: R Running Time: 1 Hr. 49 Mins. Budget: $6.000.000 Box Office: $25.244.700

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

You are the Duke of New York! You're A # 1!

8/10
Author: Scott LeBrun (Hey_Sweden) from Canada
14 May 2015

The second historic teaming of filmmaker John Carpenter and actor Kurt Russell (after the made for TV movie 'Elvis'), "Escape from New York" is slick entertainment. It's a futuristic actioner that can boast some believably decrepit environments, a typically simple but effective Carpenter music score, and a top notch cast led by Russell in a performance of quiet cool.

Taking place in the "future" year of 1997 (it's amusing, as it always is, to watch this kind of thing when the time period in the movie is now well into the past), it shows us how the island of Manhattan has been turned into a maximum security prison. An enormous wall surrounds the island, and the bridges are mined. Russell plays "Snake" Plissken, a war hero turned antisocial criminal on his way to prison for bank robbery. Meanwhile, revolutionaries take control of Air Force One and crash land inside Manhattan. Now the head honcho of the prison, Bob Hauk (Lee Van Cleef), offers Snake a deal: retrieve the President (Donald Pleasence) and earn his freedom. The catch? He has to pull off the mission within 24 hours, so the President can make it to a critical summit meeting.

Carpenter works with many talented collaborators in front of and behind the camera. The cast also includes Isaac Hayes as a cool but not that menacing villain, Harry Dean Stanton as the aptly named "Brain", Ernest Borgnine as the jovial "Cabbie", Carpenter's then wife Adrienne Barbeau as Brains' girlfriend Maggie, Kurts' ex Season Hubley as a punk girl whom Snake runs into, Tom Atkins as Rehme (a nod to Avco Embassy boss Bob Rehme), and Charles Cyphers as the Secretary of State. There's a number of familiar faces in small parts, too: Frank Doubleday, John Diehl, Nancy Stephens, Bob Minor, Carmen Filpi, George 'Buck' Flower. Carpenters' producer Debra Hill and Jamie Lee Curtis both make voice only contributions. Production designer Joe Alves ("Jaws") and Carpenters' frequent cinematographer Dean Cundey help to create a striking look for the movie.

The special effects are generally good for the budget available to Carpenter and company. While some of the visuals may seem dated now to modern viewers, they work just fine for the time when this was made. These effects were handled by the people at New World, including none other than James Cameron.

Since the action takes place during the course of a single night, there is a fair amount of urgency to the set-up, and pacing is consistent enough to hold ones' attention. One highlight is seeing Snake being forced to fight a thug inside a wrestling ring (said thug is played by the late Ox Baker).

The ending is quite satisfying, with Snake finding a means of symbolically extending a middle finger to the uncaring authority figures whom he holds in contempt.

Written by Carpenter and Nick Castle, who'd previously acted for the director in the horror classic "Halloween" (where Castle played The Shape), and followed by the belated sequel "Escape from L.A." 15 years later.

Eight out of 10.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Long live Snake Plissken.

10/10
Author: Bryan Kluger from Dallas, TX
6 May 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

John Carpenter's 'Escape From New York' came out in 1981. I was born in 1981. This is not a coincidence. Ever since my dad showed me 'Escape From New York', I wanted to don an eye patch, stick it to authority, and save the human race, just like Plissken does, but I knew I'd never be as cool as Plissken ever was.

The thing about 'Escape From New York' is that Kurt Russell's character Snake is such a bad-ass, that's it's super rare find a hero that stand for good of the common man and also acts like he doesn't care about anything. This is one of John Carpenter's finest films and was smack dab in the middle of his greatest movies, in between 'Halloween' and 'The Thing', which are two of my favorites of all time. Carpenter didn't have access to the modern technology of CG back in 1981, so he relied on a great team to construct miniature models of New York City, along with matte paintings that are ultra realistic.

These practical effects provide that good old nostalgic feeling for us kids of the 80s, because more often than not, movies today only use computer generated effects, which in my opinion, take you out of the film all together. All these aspects come together to conjure up a damn near perfect and highly entertaining film in my opinion. A film that after more than three decades, still holds up today.

It's a hell of a story too. A highly decorated US soldier and recent bank robber Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is taken out of prison in a futuristic 1997 where the world is mostly a post apocalyptic scene to rescue the President of the United States (Donald Pleaseance), after his Air Force One Place is hijacked and crashes into a building. If that weren't enough, he has to navigate the war-torn streets of New York City while avoiding crazy murderers and rapists who are all out to kill him. Luckily he does find a little bit of help with an old cab driver known as Cabbie (Ernest Borgnine), Brain (Harry Dean Stanton), and Maggie (Adrienne Barbeau), as they try to find the President who is being tortured and held hostage by The Duke (Isaac Hayes) and his insane minions.

'Escape From New York' is the ultimate bad-ass movie. It never slows down and each character is so particular and fun, that each one has become iconic. There's just something about this film where anytime it's on, you can't help but watch, and now that this Blu-ray Collector's edition is out, you'll be able to watch the best video and audio presentation thus far of this movie. I have a feeling like in another three decades, 'Escape From New York' will be just as good, if not better. Long live Snake Plissken.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Still holds up because it's actually more realistic and grounded than most dystopic sci-fi film

8/10
Author: ersinkdotcom from United States
30 April 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In "Escape from New York," it's 1997 and a major war between the United States and the Soviet Union is concluding. The entire island of Manhattan has been converted into a giant maximum security prison. When Air Force One is hijacked and crashes into the island, the president (Donald Pleasence) is taken hostage by a group of inmates. Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), a former Special Forces soldier turned criminal, is recruited to retrieve the president in exchange for his own freedom.

The thing that impressed me upon re-watching "Escape from New York" on Blu-ray was the practical effects, models, and background paintings utilized. In the age of CGI, they still look realistic and make you feel like you're watching something that's actually happening in front of you. You feel as if you've been dropped with Snake into the middle of the Rotten Apple.

"Escape from New York" is rated R for violence and gore, profanity, smoking, nudity, and frightening and intense sequences. A girl is seen topless in a rather darkly lit sequence that lasts barely five seconds. The rest of the "offending" content is rather tame by today's standards.

I'm sure there are not many out there who haven't seen "Escape from New York" in one form or another over the past 35 years. Besides the fact that it's set in the future 18 years ago, the movie still holds up because it's actually more realistic and grounded than most dystopic sci-fi films. Instead of the flying cars and advanced technology viewed in movies like "Blade Runner," we see believable and relevant settings that could transpire in the next decade or so.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Action packed classic

10/10
Author: dworldeater from United States
12 February 2015

Escape From New York is the second collaboration between writer/director John Carpenter and actor Kurt Russell. This film and the one they did next, The Thing are in my opinion the strongest films of the five times they worked together, as well as my personal favorites. In this dark, dystopian science fiction/action flick, the government is a fascist police state and the island of Manhattan is a walled off prison and once you come in, you don't come out. The president, played by Donald Pleasance was in a plane that was shot down while flying above the island and is held hostage. The outlaw Snake Plisken(Kurt Russell) is an ex war hero and the hardest man on Earth. He is sent by The Man to retrive the dumb ass president and his cassette tape that is needed for his speech in 22 hours for a summit meeting with The Soviet Union and China. This dark and subversive classic is set up much like a western and Kurt approaches his character much like Clint Eastwood would have done. Also police chief Hauk is played by legend Lee Van Cleef and The Wild Bunch star Ernest Borgnine appears as Cabbie as well. Character actor Harry Dean Stanton is The Brain and Carpenter's very talented wife at the time, Adrienne Barbeau is Brain's squeeze and has a huge rack. Kurt's wife at that time, Season Hubley is also cast, only as a cameo, but a memorable one that I totally approve of. Super cool cat Isaac Hayes is The Duke Of New York our main villain and bad ass that has the president hostage and runs the show in NY. John Carpenter also crafted one of his signature scores that is dark and ominous and creates great ambiance for the film. Although this film was made for little money it was a very influential and original for its time and John Carpenter is a genius for putting it all together and Kurt did an outstanding job in carrying the film as well. The social commentary is still relevant today, especially in the post 9/11 world where The United States is engaged in constant war, police are unaccountable for misconduct and there are more people in prison here than anywhere else in the world. I hope this film does not get remade, but even if Justin Bieber is cast as Snake Plisken, this film will hold up.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great Cult Fun

8/10
Author: gavin6942 from United States
19 April 2014

In 1997, when the US President (Donald Pleasence) crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber (Kurt Russell) is sent in for a rescue.

If you love seeing a classic science fiction film with plenty of John Carpenter regulars, including Tom Atkins, Adrienne Barbeau and more... this is your film. Vastly superior to its sequel, this outlandish plot actually has some semblance of reality: from the time this film was made to 2009, the prison population of the United States more than tripled. We have not created specific cities for criminals yet, but it makes a certain level of sense (and may not be far off from how Australia was started).

The story is really just all kinds of fun, though, and I am not the least bit surprised that it has gained cult status. Most of Carpenter's films have, but this one may be even bigger than his others as far as a broad appeal.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"The president of what?"

9/10
Author: utgard14 from USA
17 April 2014

In 1997 the President (Donald Pleasence) is being held hostage in Manhattan, which is now a walled-off prison. Only one man can get him out: Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), the baddest of the badasses. Snake has 24 hours to rescue the President but to do that he will have to face the Duke. Who is the Duke? "The Duke of New York, A-Number-1, the Big Man, that's who!"

John Carpenter's anti-hero classic is among his best films and almost certainly is the most fun. Great cast, headlined by Russell as the Eastwoodesque hero Snake Plissken. Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Harry Dean Stanton, and "Boom Boom" Barbeau are all excellent, as well. Carpenter's direction is first-rate and his terrific score is second only to his iconic Halloween theme. The special effects are fun and the usage of St. Louis locations for Manhattan is surprisingly effective. A wonderful movie that is a certified popcorn classic. Lots of memorable lines and scenes. A movie you can watch repeatedly and never get tired of it.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Breaking out is impossible, breaking in is insane

7/10
Author: ironhorse_iv from United States
30 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

How can somebody escape from not seeing this 1981 gritty and grim sci-fiction movie? It's one of the best John Carpenter's films of all times. Carpenter took the real-life pathologies that assailed New York in the '70s, like crime, decadence, drugs, blackouts, riots, economic turmoil, and punk rock, extrapolated to create this dire scenario. Carpenter wrote the film in the mid-1970s as a reaction to the Watergate scandal and it's shows as Escape From New York's political themes are well-grounded than its sequel Escape from LA which was full of satire, so New York seem a bit more grounded in reality than LA. It's story is a compelling but relentlessly sour and pessimistic action flick whose only levity comes from the inherent dark humor. Escape From New York's is the story about two societies. One is the far right fascist state that has created a prison island on Manhattan to imprisoned those who don't see their way, it's lead by a future US dystopia president (Donald Pleasence) whom plane was taken over by terrorist over the air space over the island. The plane crashes into Manhattan, but the President makes it to an escape pod and survives. The President finds himself in a world of the far left, an anarchy state, where a leader known as the Duke of New York (Isaac Hayes) takes him hostage, and order the government the right to leave Manhattan immediately or they will kill him. Police Commissioner Bob Hauk (Lee Van Cleef) is forced to send a special force soldiers turned criminal "Snake" Plissken (Kurt Russell) to rescue him. The movie is amazing, with its limitations to the point that a video game director from Japan Hideo Kojima saw it as an influence on his work, The Metal Gear series starting a character Solid Snake, strongly based on Snake Plissken. There is a bit of a mystery to Snake due his character having no redeeming social value. It's clearly paying homage to the Man with No name from the Sergio Leone's movies, and maybe the reason why Lee Van Cleef was hired to play the Police Commissoner. Snake Plissken is pretty much one of the ultimate movie anti-hero rebel. Snake doesn't represent America, it represents humanity and the passion for freedom from the ''prison'' that modern America (and generally the people in power) have created, by destroying a key item in the end. It's the direct message from Carpenter against the capitalist system. An powerful message. Rather than, "escapism" in the Hollywood sense and made this a thrill-ride, Carpenter instead shot on a low budget, using a burnt-out St. Louis standing in for ghost-town NYC to makes it painfully plain that this alternative Manhattan is really not a nice place to visit and you wouldn't want to live there. A solid movie to watch if you felt escaping

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Oudated and a bit too campy but for a movie from the 1980's it's pretty good

7/10
Author: KineticSeoul from United States
7 June 2012

This movie is a cult classic to some movie buffs and inspired a some other movie characters including video game characters as well. One video that comes to mind straight off the bat is "Metal Gear Solid" the character Solid Snake is inspired by Snake Plissken who is the main protagonist and a bit of a anti-hero in this movie. This movie is probably Kurt Russell's big break in some ways and plays a character that sticks with him even today. This movie is outdated and not just because the special effects but it's just a really slow-paced action movie in today's standards. The plot is this in year 1988 crime rates go out of hand and thus the government decides to barricade and isolate the people of New York and no one is allowed to leave and those that enter aren't allowed to leave either. The movie takes place in 1997 and New York is now a isolated slum filled with bunch of homeless and crazy people or both and some of them are savage criminals in a ravaged wasted city. The president gets kidnapped and that is when Snake Plissken comes in, he has no other option but to go to New York and rescue the president or die trying. Despite the low budget this movie has some creativity going for it when it comes to the anarchic atmosphere and actions of the characters. So despite the linear story it mysterious and dark atmosphere that screams shady used in a effective manner makes it worth a watch even today. This movie can get really campy at times but for a movie made in 1980's it's not too shabby.

7/10

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