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Escape from L.A. (1996)

R  |   |  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi  |  9 August 1996 (USA)
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Reviews: 222 user | 100 critic

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.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cuervo Jones (as George Corraface)
Woman on Freeway


The year is 2013 and Snake Plissken is back but this time it's L.A., which through the agency of earthquakes has become an island of the damned. But something has gone wrong in this new moral order, because the President's daughter has absconded to L.A. with a detonation device, and Snake is commandeered to retrieve it. But just below the surface there is a coiled Snake ready to strike. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The man with the patch has escaped N.Y., try L.A. in the apocalypse See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

9 August 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Escape from L.A.  »

Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$8,912,557 (USA) (9 August 1996)


JPY 131,401,000 (Japan) (6 December 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


There are several references to Snake Plissken and the city of Cleveland. This is an in-joke reference to a friend of John Carpenter's who knew a guy from Cleveland named Snake Plissken; this is supposedly where Carpenter got the name for the character when he was writing Escape from New York (1981) See more »


The President's daughter's plane is referred to as "Air Force Three." The actual call sign for an aircraft carrying the First Family (without the President) is "Executive One Foxtrot." See more »


[first lines]
Female Narrator: In the late 20th century, hostile forces inside the United States grow strong. The city of Los Angeles is ravaged by crime and immorality. To protect and defend its citizens, the United States Police Force is formed. A presidential candidate predicts a millennium earthquake will destroy L.A. in divine retribution.
President: Like the mighty fist of God, Armageddon will descend upon the city of Los Angeles - the city of sin, the city of Gomorrah, the city of Sodom - and waters will rise and ...
See more »


References The Omega Man (1971) See more »


By Paul Leary, Gibby Haynes & King Coffey
Performed by Butthole Surfers
Courtesy of Capitol Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Plissken doesn't disappoint!!
7 January 2012 | by (Oxford, UK) – See all my reviews

I wasn't expecting a whole lot from this movie, but I was really glad I watched it! Bad-ass Snake is back and his new assignment sees him enter a run-down LA in search of a 'black box'. Standard "Escape" stuff, again we assume he's been drugged and has no alternative.

The visual effects come thick and fast: There is a mix of some really great effects early on and some equally awful ones, but as this was the dawn of "comic book style" films they're all totally acceptable in the film world. A lot of them were really nice, even the tacky nature of them still holds good value. But what I really liked were the epic long shots and large models that I thought really gave LA and edge over New York.

The plot does twist and turn more than you expect. Just as I was getting to like Plisken's love interest...BLAM! Just as I thought some boring secondary cast member is about to join the plot - BAM - it's Steve Buscemi! The next minute Plissken is surfing a mini-tsunami through LA!! This film really delivers and personally I think it makes a great sequel to NY. There's more attention to sci-fi detail, some gripping sequences and wonderful locations. The supporting cast don't do a bad job of it either. There's dramatic irony and also whatever the reverse of dramatic irony is - bits you just won't predict happening...

Kurt himself as Plissken is a joy to watch - never says a lot - you often wonder what he's thinking and Kurt plays this part of unease and uncertainty about Plissken really well. The fact Snake's reputation follows him in this film also adds to the fun factor.

There's no need to take this movie in too deeply, I did not - and that way I really got into it and enjoyed the world it portrayed. The final shot of Plissken is hilarious and made me clap out loud because it's just the perfect finalé to the world of Snake.

I really hope they bring Kurt back for a third film, because the effects could be at a whole new level in this day and age. And definitely get Shirley Walker and John Carpenter to write the music together. The progression in LA from Carpenter's classic slow synth style through to Walker's upbeat 20th century classical really interested me.

If you're looking for light entertainment, a fairly mature sci-fi romp with Kurt Russell from a time when computer effects in films were really beginning (though the use of real locations (and some big ones!) were not to be outdone by computer graphics in this film) - be sure to watch this!! Oh and please finish the trilogy Kurt!! PHAT

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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