Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Escape From La |
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
Fifteen years after John Carpenter squandered a great idea on a mediocre movie (Escape from New York), he does it again--this time on the Left Coast. Kurt Russell is back as the terminally cynical one-eyed action hero Snak... more »
Under appreciated minor classic almost a remake
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 02/21/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Sequels used to be about remaking the same film again and again (remember "Friday The 13th" or "Nightmare on Elm Street"?)with minor variations so the audience gets their fix. John Carpenter, Kurt Russell and Debra Hill inverted the paradigmn reprising the best elements from "Escape from New York" while introducing a heavy dose of satire aimed squarely at the Moral Majority and groups of that nature. While not as memorable as that film, "Escape from L. A." takes perfect aim at liberal Hollywood, the conservative religious right, sequels and skewers them all dead on most of the time.
Snake Plissken is back in trouble. Captured again he's put into the service of national security against his will. It seems a device that can detonate orbital nuclear devices has been stolen by the President's daughter and delivered into the hands of a self styled rebel leader named Cuervo Jones (George Corraface)in what's left of Southern California. Cuervo plans on using this device against the United States. Plissken is sent to the island of Los Angeles to retreive the device. Yes, folks the BIG ONE finally hit and a large part of the Los Angeles basin dropped into the ocean like a ten ton weight while the remainder floats off the coast of the United States making the perfect place to deport people who don't have high moral fiber or generally tick off the President for life (Cliff Robertson in a twisted performance). Infected by a deadly designer virus that makes Ebola seem like the flu, Snake has no choice but to take the job of retrieving. Malloy (Stacy Keach stepping in for the late Lee Van Cleef)and Brazen (the beautiful Michelle Forbes late of "Star Trek: The Next Generation", "Homicide: Life on the Streets" and the second season of "24")provide Snake with his only link to the outside world.
Along the way Snake meets surfers (Peter Fonda), the Surgeon General of Beverly Hills (Bruce Campbell in a hilarious role that truly is the highlight of the movie)in pursuit of the device. Oh and once again Snake has one of those huge digital watches attached to his wrist to remind him his days are numbered if he doesn't get the device back in time. Filled with great cameos by Steve Buscemi (as Map to the Stars Eddie), B-movie queen Pam Grier (as Hershe Las Palmas), Italian beauty Valerie Golino, the late Paul Bartel, Issac Hayes (in a cameo) and Robert Carradine "Escape from L.A." just might be Carpenter's most undervalued film (along with the great satire "They Live").
The weakest link in the film turns out to be the uneven visual effects done by Disney's Buena Vista Visual Effects. Some of the opticals look great particularly the scenes where Los Angeles gets hit by the 9.6 earthquake. The sequences involving the mini-sub and some of the helicopters look as if they were taken from computer games. While computer graphics were still developing at the time, I'm surprised that Disney's effects house wasn't able to come up with more convincing visuals for this sequence. Still, while they aren't what they could be they're not the focus of the story either and are a pretty minor problem. Many of the best effects work quite well. The production design by Lawrence G. Paull ("Blade Runner", "Back to the Future", "Predator 2")gives the film a much bigger look than the budget the film had (it cost roughly $50 million to make including the marketing portion of the budget). A bit of trivia about the film. Russell appears wearing the same costume he had for the first film at the beginning. Russell also made all the basketball shots seen in the climatic game himself.
Presented in its original widescreen format with a trailer as the only extra, this was released when Paramount was playing catch up in releasing product for the DVD market. The image quality is exceptionally good with great color reproduction and a nearly flawless print (particularly when compared to the remastered re-release of "Escape from New York")with a nice 5.1 sound mix.
It's too bad this hasn't been reissued with extras (such as a commentary from Carpenter and Russell and one or two featurettes. Heck, there's got to be a promo piece somewhere in Paramount's vault about this as I seem to remember one being released to promote it)because, while isn't quite up to "Escape from New York", "Escape from L.A." is still a memorable sequel with enough satire, parody and humor laced moments to keep fans of the original happy. Hopefully one of these days this minor Carpenter classic will get the re-evaluation it deserves."
Escape from LA (Big Orange is a Deportation Center)
Lee Jordan | Natchitoches, LA USA | 11/11/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In the year 1998, too many Mexicans are jumping the border and crime is continuously increasing. In the year 2000, a terrible earthquake happens separating California from the U.S. coastline. A presidential candidate decides to turn it into a deportation zone to send off illegal immigrants and scum not worthy of living in the country. In 2013, the President's daughter hijacks Air Force Three and sneaks off to the new island once split away from the states. Only one man has the skill for the job to bring her back and return what she has stolen and taken with her. Snake is back! Plisken has once again been hired by the police force of the future to complete an objective for the sake of the President. This time he does it in Los Angeles. 15 years later after New York. Snake Plisken did it once. He can do it again. Good Action Movie! But not as good as the first. Only better special effects and greater quality."
Marginally Impressive DVD Quality
Desmond Hew | Malaysia | 12/01/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is no better way to view John Carpenter's films in WIDESCREEN and it's no exception with this sequel to Escape from New York! Gratitude definitely has to be given for the DVD's quality as it fully displays all the shades of blacks [especially those on Snake's coat] in a solid yet crisp quality that even the Laserdisc version can't match. I also found this DVD much sharper, with more visible detail in the crouded scenes. To top it off, this DVD is a fine example of professional solid blacks! Unfortunately though, its sound is NOT quite as powerful as the THX-approved version on LD. Scenes where Snake fires his Core Burner, his cowboy guns and other big explosions, all seem to scream in a lower rumble when you compare this DVD with the LD. But if I were to choose between those 2, I'd still pick the DVD version as it has the Theatrical Trailer [among the coolest ones I've seen], yet there's no need to flip the disc! For fans, I recommend this version of the film [though I can never stop thinking there should have been more extra features in it]!"
"Welcome To The Human Race"
Andrew Estes | Maine | 09/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"They sure don't make 'em like this anymore -- that much can be said for this balls-to-the-wall, over-the-top sequel to John Carpenter's classic "Escape From New York." In "Escape From L.A.," the audience is reunited with loveable Snake Plissken, the eye-patch sporting, leather-clad war-hero made famous by Kurt Russell. Russell, together with Carpenter and his long-time collaborater, Debra Hill, wrote the script, so you can bet that not only is it a labor of love for all involved in the making of the movie, but also a fitting companion-piece to the original. If you haven't seen the original, don't fear. Like any good action sequel, this one does it's audience the favor of existing as a stand-alone feature as well.
The year is 2013. The constitution has been rewritten and the president is serving his life-long term. Red meat, along with other simple pleasures such as premarital sex, alcohol and any sort of fun has been outlawed. Those who can't comply or conform with this ultra-conservative new vision of The United States are banished to Los Angeles. Doesn't sound so bad, but unfortunately and conveniently, L.A. has been isolated from the country by a devastating earthquake and transformed into a prison camp, full of the dirtiest and uncivilized criminals and low-lifes. Universal Studios has been banished to the depths of the Pacific Ocean, and you can bet this ain't the happiest place on Earth. After being captured by the government and injected with a deadly virus for motivational purposes, Snake is dispatched to this wasteland to retreive a doomsday device, hijacked by the president's daughter, which has the power to revert Earth back to the dark ages. As our hero wades through the sewers, surfs tsunamis and plays a deadly game of basketball, he encounters some colorful characters along the way, played by the likes of Steve Buscemi, Bruce Campbell, Peter Fonda and Pam Grier. If you think these characters are bold and outlandish, just get a load of the action, which takes many liberties with the human imagination and stands out from much of the disposable fluff of it's time ("Independence Day," for one).
Since this is a John Carpenter film, you know two things: First, the music is going to be good. Composed by Carpenter himself, it's yet another classic score. Second, the movie looks gorgeous. There may be some dodgy special effects here and there, but for 1996, this is a pretty tight looking feature. It's far from a perfect film, but at the very least, it's an example of the best escapism movies have to offer. Kurt Russell is brilliant and doesn't miss a mark as Snake, and Carpenter's vision is that of confidence and bold imagination. Those who appreciate a good action flick that checks your brain at the door will find salvation in "Escape From L.A.""