"Escape From New York" is a solid action noir by John Carpenter, although it lacks the punch of Carpenter's other three previous features ("The Fog", "Halloween", "Assault on Precinct 13"). Kurt Russell became famous for his Snake Plissken, and rightfully so, although the character seems to be only a more gritty version of Napoeleon Wilson in "Assault". What makes this film the cult classic it is is Carpenter's very apocalyptic and brash story. This is a very dark film, and it holds up especially well today when shown against the countless fluff films that Hollywood seems to be churning out. Carpenter made the most out of his meeger budget and created a very convincing New York City. Not only is the set design fantastic, but so are the typically strong performances. Russell, Hayes, Barbeau, Pleasence, Stanton, Atkins, Cyphers and Borgnine are all cult legends, and seeing them all work together makes Robert Altman's casts look feeble in comparison. What limits this film from greatness is surprisingly lax direction by Carpenter. The film is not as tight as it should have been, and really fails to generate any sort of suspense during the action. Deaths just happen out of nowhere, with little to no build up, which is a shame. This movie could have really been amazing. The ending is perfect though, and easily makes up for the film's faults. See it for Kurt Russell and the great ending and you will come away a happy viewer. Watch "Escape From LA" though to see what this movie should have been.
Escape from New York (1981) 720p YIFY Movie
Escape from New York (1981)
In 1997, when the US President crashes into Manhattan, now a giant max. security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in for a rescue.
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The Synopsis for Escape from New York (1981) 720p
In the future, crime is out of control and New York City is a maximum security prison. Grabbing a bargaining chip right out of the air, convicts bring down the President's plane in bad old Gotham. Gruff Snake Plissken, a one-eyed lone warrior new to prison life, is coerced into bringing the President, and his cargo, out of this land of undesirables.
The Director and Players for Escape from New York (1981) 720p
The Reviews for Escape from New York (1981) 720p
"Call me Snake..."Reviewed bygroltVote: 8/10
Snake Plissken is the classic anti-hero, ala Clint Eastwood's Man-with-no-name. Plissken is an ex-soldier turned criminal, recruited/blackmailed into rescuing a hostage president from the prison of New York City. Plissken is a walking ball of anger and a survival machine. He fought for his country but had everything taken from him, so he started taking back. Now, he has to rescue a man he doesn't care about, if only to survive long enough to take his revenge on Hauk and the government. John Carpenter's film is a masterpiece of dark humor, suspense, and great characters. The film channels the anger and distrust of the post-Vietnam/Watergate era, as well as the then-current Iranian Hostage crisis. Plissken represents, in a fashion, the Vietnam vets who did their job, even if they didn't agree with or understand their war, but came back to nothing. The film's novelization explores these themes better than the movie, but it is hinted at in Hauk's briefing. It also depicts a fascist police state, one that some would say is not too far from reality. Kurt Russell is excellent in what was a breakout performance for him. Up to this point, Russell had been stuck in low budget comedies, following the end of his Disney days. This performance, coupled with another collaboration with Carpenter, Elvis, led to bigger and better roles. Russell channels Clint Eastwood to give Snake a menacing, if laconic quality. Much like a real serpent, Snake watches and strikes when he is ready; with speed and impact. Russell is able to say a lot with little dialogue, through his body language and facial expressions. The supporting cast is wonderful. Adrienne Barbeau is the beautiful, but deadly Maggie. She is partnered with the intelligent, but slimy Brain. Their's is a symbiotic relationship; each provides something the other needs. Harry Dean Stanton, a great character actor, presents a Brain that is smart, but ruthless, and more than a bit cowardly. Isaac Hayes is The Duke, ruler of the prison. Hayes is a bit uneven, as he wasn't an experienced actor (he had at least one movie before this) but he is a charismatic performer and ultra-cool. Donald Pleasance is the consummate politician, a big man in his controlled environment, but lost in a world outside his; one he had a hand in creating. Ernest Borgnine is tremendous as Cabby, the answer man and link between Snake and the rest of the cast, as well as to the past of New York. Finally, Lee Van Cleef brings some of that Angel Eyes magic as Hauk, the prison Warden. Hauk is an ex-soldier and identifies with Snake. The difference is, Snake rebelled against the system that betrayed him; Hauk joined it. This was Van Cleef's last good role, before he was saddled with mediocrity in his tv series, the Master, and became the butt of jokes on MST3K. The film moves at a brisk pace and the dark lighting carries the sense of mystery, isolation, and destruction. Carpenter is able to convincingly hide the fact that he shot this film in St. Louis and LA, and make you believe it is New York. Although there are gaps in logic and missing information, the pace doesn't let you dwell on it. There is a constant feeling of the race against time. If there is any complaint, it's that the budget sometimes holds back some of the action, but characterization makes up for it. Also, the dark lighting is sometimes too dark, and details are obscured. The new special edition dvd brings a treat to long-time fans: the deleted opening bank robbery and capture of Snake Plissken. Since I had read the novelization before seeing the film, I had long wondered what this sequence had looked like. Although it does explain why Plissken is on his way to the prison when Hauk intercepts him, it doesn't really work in context with the rest of the film. The sequence worked well in the book because of Snake's inner monologue and memories of his mission in Leningrad and the loss of his parents to government action. We understand Snake's hatred of the government and his nihilistic nature. In the sequence, as shot, we don't really get a sense of who Plissken is; just that he has apparently committed a crime and is on the run. We don't really get a feel for his relationship with his partner, which affects the emotional impact at the end of the sequence. Ultimately, the film works better without this footage. A note on the commentary track: Ox Baker was not seven feet tall. He is probably closer to the 6'6" to 6'7" range, although he was over 300 pounds. His bulk makes him appear larger than he really is, especially in a wrestling ring. One used to wonder what this film would have looked like with a bigger budget. Carpenter sort of answered that with the sequel, Escape from LA. It was essentially the same film, with better effects and a West Coast sensibility; but, it doesn't hold a candle to the original. The lower budget caused the cast and crew to be more creative and they succeeded far better here. It would be good to see Snake again, but in a new environment, with a different plot. Russell's age could be an asset, as Carpenter could examine an older Snake, who must rely more on cunning than physical skills.
On his way to an important conference that will determine the fate of America, Air Force One is crashed into Manhattan island - leaving the President and vital information trapped within the single largest prison in the world. With very little time and no way to mount a full on attack, Chief Hauk forces the newly captured ex-war hero Snake Plisskin to launch a covert rescue mission - adding the extra incentive of timed bombs implanted in his body. Snake, with little other choice, accepts the mission to save his own neck (literally). If the remake had any value, hopefully it's value was in bringing a new audience to the original film and watching it for the first time. The film opens with that very distinctive electronic theme music that gives it such a cool feel from the very getgo. This is followed up by a great rough energy as we are introduced to this future (which is now the past!). This story continues quite well but, once all the main players have been introduced, the film falls back on the expected series of 'running away' and fighting. This is not to say that it still isn't quite fun and cool because it is. The effects, music and even the use of tapes make this film feel very old and dated but it actually goes hand in hand with the very rough feel that Carpenter gave to several of his films at the time (whether deliberately or budget influenced I don't know). The plot is full of silly moments and sheer gaps in logic but, if you buy into the mood of the film, you can get by these and enjoy it - though I define you to call this a 'great' film, maybe good. The casting of Kurt Russell is a major thing. He is iconicly cool and his performance and his character are the two main things that have kept this film well known down the years. He looks tough and talks tough and is a great homage to the Clint Eastwood character from the old westerns (a fact made clearer in the sequel). Cleef is a good foil for him as he is tough too but lacks screen time for the majority. It is very clear what Barbeau brings to the party - and the costume selected for her makes no secret of it! I am a man and I'm not proud of it, but she is very easy on the eye here - just a shame that that's all I remember about her performance. Borgnine and Stanton are both good and, along with Hayes, all serve to increase the cult appeal of the film to this day. Overall this is a cult film that looks cheap, has dated effects and a plot that starts to crumble after the first half. However it is cool fun with some great tough dialogue. However, beyond all this it is the iconic character of Snake and the great performance from Russell that will mean that this film continues to get cool points with new audiences.