Escape from New York [1981]

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 99 minutes

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 warrior new to prison life, is coerced into bringing the President, and his cargo, out of this land of undesirables. Kurt Russell put his Disney days behind him as the nicest bad guy in the picture. All comic-book sensibilities and macho posturing, this is one of writer-director John Carpenter's better brainless escapes. There are snappy one-liners and explosive action scenes. However, the film lacks tension and some believability even within the realm of SF fantasy. Even when it fails to gel, though, it always manages to amuse, thanks in great part to a varied and unusual supporting cast (watch for Ernest Borgnine as a cabdriver). Followed in 1996 by Carpenter's overdone and campy Escape from L.A. --Rochelle O'Gorman

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