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Face-Off: Snake Plissken vs. Jack Burton

10.19.2014by: 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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