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Escape From L.A
BLU-RAY disk
05.07.2010 By: Chris Bumbray
Escape From L.A order download
Director:
John Carpenter

Actors:
Kurt Russell
Steve Buscemi
Pam Grier
Peter Fonda
Bruce Campbell

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Fifteen years after saving the president from the psychotic inmates of the city wide New York prison- Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is once again coerced by the government into infiltrating another city turned prison: Los Angeles. His mission, recover a device stolen by the president's daughter that, if activated, could shut down the world's power supply.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
ESCAPE FROM LA came out in the summer of '96, when I was fourteen years old. At the time I was a serious action junkie, and the trailer for ESCAPE FROM LA promised THE action ride of that summer. Sadly, the film ended up being a bitter letdown, especially compared to another action extravaganza, THE ROCK, that had opened earlier that summer.

Nonetheless, ESCAPE FROM LA was still a film that I watched over and over on VHS, but I probably haven't seen it in at least a decade, so I was thrilled when I got the blu-ray in the mail. Alas, the years have not been kind to ESCAPE FROM LA.

It's hard to figure out what went wrong with this film, as it had a healthy budget, John Carpenter and Kurt Russell not only as director and star, but also as writers/producers, and a solid cast of B-movie legends like Bruce Campbell, Stacey Keach, Peter Fonda & Pam Grier. It even had Steve Buscemi, who was making his mark in a big way around then thanks to RESERVOIR DOGS, in a key supporting role. What went wrong?

I think in an effort to re-create ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, Carpenter and Russell stuck too close to the formula of the original film, and as a result this feels like little more than a big budget remake than a sequel. It also suffers from the worst CGI outside of a sci-fi channel original movie (or DTV film from The Asylum) that I've ever seen. Even for 1996, the VFX were notoriously bad, and was enough to scare John Carpenter out of every using CGI again (even GHOST OF MARS was done with practical effects).

As a result, you get a film that's not a patch on the ass of the original film, which is a lot smarter and cerebral than people seem to remember. THAT film is a true classic, and NEEDS a blu-ray release soon. That said, ESCAPE FROM LA is still kinda fun. Campbell has a great cameo as the surgeon general of Beverly Hills (unrecognizable under the Rick Baker makeup), Buscemi is hoot, and Russell is still the man (this was made at the tail end of his hey-day, following TOMBSTONE, STARGATE, and EXECUTIVE DECISION- all of which were blockbusters). I also loved the ending, which was ripped off in the recent DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL remake.

THE EXTRAS
Nothing, except for the great trailer , in HD, which I watched over and over back in 96.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Overall, ESCAPE FROM LA is worth a purchase if it's something you remember fondly from your adolescence (like me), or if you're a Carpenter/ Russell completest. It's not a great or even particularly good film, but it's cheesy fun.
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