Thursday, February 2, 2017

I Thought He Was Taller, or Thoughts on John Carpenter's Escape From L.A.

Director John Carpenter has never had an ethical problem with sequels; there have been 10 Halloweens since 1978, but Escape From L.A. (1996) is the only sequel he actually directed.  Produced and co-written by Snake Plissken himself, the movie is a parody of life in Los Angeles and the movie industry with a jab at religious conservatives, wrapped around the premise of a dystopian action movie.  You can consider it a tangental remake of the first movie, Escape From New York (1981).
The iconic theme song was updated with 90’s grunge guitar riff, as Kurt Russell reprises his role, wearing the original leather jacket from the first film as he’s captured again, and sent to another walled city/prison on the west coast, only to be coerced into a secret mission to save the president’s daughter, or rather the secret weapon/nuclear football she’s stolen.  Is that enough plot for you?  He’s Snake Plissken, what more do you need?
Jamie Lee Curtis also returns for her narrator cameo, with Greek-French actor Georges Correface as Cuervo Jones, looking like a Che Guevara t-shirt come to life.  Also with Pam Grier, who follows me on Twitter, Michelle Forbes, who you know as Ensign Ro, Admiral Helena Cain and Maryann Forrestor from True Blood, Stacy Keach. Peter Fonda and Steve Buscemi as Map to the Stars Eddie, driving a 1959 Cadillac Series 2, in case you care, and I know you do.  Also look out for an unrecognizable Bruce Campbell (look for the chin) as the ghoulish Surgeon General of Beverly Hills.
Essentially an updated western (though you could make an argument that every John Carpenter movie is an updated western) with distracting 90’s CGI and retro 70’s analog motorcycle stunts, Escape From L.A. is closer to Blade Runner (1982) and The Road Warrior (1981), rather than The Matrix (1999).  The science fiction landscape was about to shift, movies were going to become more like videogames and vice versa, and this little thing called the Internet was about to change everything.  Regrettably, 90’s audiences weren’t interested in 80’s sci-fi, and the movie was not a box-office success.  However it’s worth a viewing and I’m certain it will be appreciated by future generations.





my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).