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Face-Off: Snake Plissken vs. Jack Burton

Oct. 19, 2014by: Dave Davis
Last week's Face-Off column put the previous two James Bonds up against each other, and you were pretty evenly split between Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.

We've been hearing recent rumblings again of another attempt to remake John Carpenter's action/sci-fi classic ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, even though most of us would agree that nobody could possibly replace Kurt Russell in the role of Snake Plissken. It would be like trying to remake Carpenter's own BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA with someone else besides Russell as Jack Burton -- these are just iconic characters defined by the actor. Hey, that gives me an idea...

(Please note: Face Off is an opinion column. We're not using any actual science to prove or disprove anything. It's just for fun.)
JOB DESCRIPTION
Former Special Forces soldier turned notorious criminal
Long-haul truck driver
MISSION
Enter the maximum security penitentiary of Manhattan, rescue the President from his captors, and escort him to a global peace summit before a world war occurs
Enter the underworld of San Francisco's Chinatown and rescue two lovely green-eyed ladies from a legendary evil
ADVERSARY
The infamous Duke of New York (Isaac Hayes), who dresses like a pimp and drives a Cadillac with chandelier headlights
David Lo Pan (James Hong), an ancient seven-foot-tall sorcerer who shoots light from his mouth and has a serious thing for green-eyed girls
Other Obstacles
-The Duke's gang

-A big bald wrestler brute

-Dozens of grungy, violent prisoners

-The Crazies, sewer dwellers who eat human flesh

-Microscopic explosive neck implants that will rupture his carotid arteries in 24 hours
-The Wing Kong, a horde of red-turbaned kung-fu footsoldiers

-The "Three Storms", a trio of powerful elemental henchmen

-The Lords of Death, a Chinese street gang

-Various demons, monsters and floating eyeball heads

SIDEKICK
Cabbie, an overweight lackey who drives a beat-up taxi and flees at the first sign of trouble
Wang, a diminutive Chinese-American martial artist who runs up walls and kicks asses
Other Allies
-Brain (aka Harold Hellman), an inmate with a fuel source and the map of a deadly minefield on the way out of the city

-his busty "squeeze" Maggie
-The Chang Sing, a platoon of martial arts experts

-Egg Shen, a cranky old wizard with a six-demon bag
ARSENAL
Modified Ingram MAC-10 with scope and suppressor, .38 revolver with scope, throwing stars
TEC-9 assault pistol, boot knife
Weapon Skills
-Surprisingly good aim, despite lack of depth perception

-Uses machinegun to make his own exits
-Can't find the safety on his gun

-Knocks himself unconscious shooting into the air

-Takes out Lo Pan with a knife throw to the noggin
VEHICLE
The Gullfire, a high-tech stealth glider
The "Pork Chop Express", a semi rig that purportedly reaches 6.5 on the Richter Scale"
Attire
Eye patch, leather jacket, black tank top, camo pants
Fu Manchu tank top, jeans, nerd disguise, accidental lipstick
QUOTES
-"I don't give a fuck about your war... or your president."

-"Call me Snake."

-Hauk: "Remember, once you're inside you're on your own."
Snake: "Oh, you mean I can't count on you?"
Hauk: "No."
Snake: "Good!"

-Brain: "I swear to God, Snake, I thought you were dead."
Snake: "Yeah. You and everybody else. "

-Hauk: "You going to kill me, Snake?"
Snake: "Not now, I'm too tired. Maybe later."
-"It's all in the reflexes."

-"I'm a reasonable guy, but I've just experienced some very unreasonable things."

-"Everybody relax, I'm here."

-"Okay. You people sit tight, hold the fort and keep the home fires burning. And if we're not back by dawn... call the President."

-"What does that mean, huh? 'China is here?' I don't even know what the hell that means."

-"I was born ready."

-"I'm supposed to buy this shit? Two thousand years and he can't find one broad to fit the bill? Come on, Dave, you must be doing something seriously wrong!"

-"Sooner or later I rub everybody the wrong way."

-"We really shook the pillars of heaven, didn't we, Wang?"

-"You just listen to the old Pork Chop Express here now and take his advice on a dark and stormy night when the lightning's crashin' and the thunder's rollin' and the rain's coming down in sheets thick as lead. Just remember what old Jack Burton does when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big old storm right square in the eye and he says, 'Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it.'"
IT'S A TIE!
Let's face it -- both of these guys are deserving candidates for the genre Hall of Fame. Sure, Snake Plissken is much more of a memorable badass (note that ESCAPE FROM L.A. is purposely being ignored), but Jack Burton is such a lovable blustering buffoon that it makes up for his lack of actual combat ability. Either way, one thing's for sure: nobody but Kurt Russell could ever do justice to these characters.

Agree? Disagree? Which do you prefer?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!

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+0
5:53PM on 11/19/2014
I like this, but Jack Burton vs Ash would have been far more intriguing.
I like this, but Jack Burton vs Ash would have been far more intriguing.
Your Reply:



11:45PM on 09/05/2014

I love both...

but Jack Burton all the way. "Who"? Jack Burton. Me.
but Jack Burton all the way. "Who"? Jack Burton. Me.
Your Reply:



9:21PM on 09/04/2014

Escape is the better movie, but Burton is the better character

When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Jack?" "Yessir, the check is in the mail."
When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Jack?" "Yessir, the check is in the mail."
Your Reply:



+1
7:01PM on 09/04/2014
I've always liked Plissken a lot better.
I've always liked Plissken a lot better.
Your Reply:



+0
2:17PM on 09/04/2014
Thunder: "Who?"
Jack: "Jack Burton. Me."
"This is gonna take cracker jack timing, Wang."
Jack Burton
Thunder: "Who?"
Jack: "Jack Burton. Me."
"This is gonna take cracker jack timing, Wang."
Jack Burton
Your Reply:



+0
12:30PM on 09/04/2014
I hate to be "that guy", BUT it's 6.9 on the Richter scale, not 6.5.

Plus I knew this would end in a tie since there's no way to choose between the two.
I hate to be "that guy", BUT it's 6.9 on the Richter scale, not 6.5.

Plus I knew this would end in a tie since there's no way to choose between the two.
Your Reply:



11:15AM on 09/04/2014
Even the Metal Gear Solid series is gonna go with Snake on this one, so I will too. Burton was fun, but Plissken is the man!
Even the Metal Gear Solid series is gonna go with Snake on this one, so I will too. Burton was fun, but Plissken is the man!
Your Reply:



+0
10:37AM on 09/04/2014

Jack Burton

I saw Big Trouble again the other day...it still holds up brilliantly. Whilst no doubt I'd want Snake on my side when things go bad...I've got to go with Jack...he's just a brilliantly well done every day Joe character - "Are you crazy... Is that your problem?" :o)
I saw Big Trouble again the other day...it still holds up brilliantly. Whilst no doubt I'd want Snake on my side when things go bad...I've got to go with Jack...he's just a brilliantly well done every day Joe character - "Are you crazy... Is that your problem?" :o)
Your Reply:



8:14AM on 09/04/2014
Don't make me choose - both awesome characters from great movies.
If I needed someone to watch my back, Snake no doubt. If I wanted a drinking buddy, Jack Burton.
Don't make me choose - both awesome characters from great movies.
If I needed someone to watch my back, Snake no doubt. If I wanted a drinking buddy, Jack Burton.
Your Reply:



6:54AM on 09/05/2014
Not sure if I'd want Snake to watch my back. Isn't one of the "Escape from" series trademarks that most of Snake's companions on his adventures end up getting killed?
Not sure if I'd want Snake to watch my back. Isn't one of the "Escape from" series trademarks that most of Snake's companions on his adventures end up getting killed?
+4
6:35AM on 09/04/2014

Snake

The entire point of jack was that he was the sidekick. He acted like he was this big bad ass but he kept screwing up. He was knocked out for the entire action scene in the end. He did have his one trick of catching the knife but that's it. Snake is the ultimate bad ass. Like no question. Jack is still a great character and I love big trouble, but he cannot beat snake.
The entire point of jack was that he was the sidekick. He acted like he was this big bad ass but he kept screwing up. He was knocked out for the entire action scene in the end. He did have his one trick of catching the knife but that's it. Snake is the ultimate bad ass. Like no question. Jack is still a great character and I love big trouble, but he cannot beat snake.
Your Reply:



6:05AM on 09/04/2014

SNAKE! SNAKE! SNAKE! SNAKE! SNAKE!

Ultimate reluctant protagonist and anti-hero.
Ultimate reluctant protagonist and anti-hero.
Your Reply:



2:18AM on 09/04/2014
Should the end of the world arrive, I'd stick with Snake Plissken. Jack Burton is cool and all but Snake Plissken is THE Man.
Should the end of the world arrive, I'd stick with Snake Plissken. Jack Burton is cool and all but Snake Plissken is THE Man.
Your Reply:



2:11AM on 09/04/2014
Snake. Jack Burton is awesome but on the whole, Snake as a character has had a bigger impact on the genre and there have been more action hero characters directly inspired by him.
Snake. Jack Burton is awesome but on the whole, Snake as a character has had a bigger impact on the genre and there have been more action hero characters directly inspired by him.
Your Reply:



1:18AM on 09/04/2014

Snake Plissken

^^^^^
^^^^^
Your Reply:



12:55AM on 09/04/2014
How dear your sir!This is like asking a parent too pick their favourite child.

This pains me, but i choose ,The Pork Chop Express.
How dear your sir!This is like asking a parent too pick their favourite child.

This pains me, but i choose ,The Pork Chop Express.
Your Reply:



12:53AM on 09/04/2014
Plissken. It's not even close.
Plissken. It's not even close.
Your Reply:



12:47AM on 09/04/2014

Snake...

Plisken, all the way. Maybe i'm biased, because I remember BTILC vaguely having only seen it once but EFNY got me hooked the first time I saw it and always looked out for it everytime it came on TV.
Plisken, all the way. Maybe i'm biased, because I remember BTILC vaguely having only seen it once but EFNY got me hooked the first time I saw it and always looked out for it everytime it came on TV.
Your Reply:



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