Escape from New York
Release Year: 1981
Director: John Carpenter
Writers: John Carpenter, Nick Castle
Starring: Kurt Russell, Lee van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Harry Dean Stanton, Donald Pleasance, Isaac Hayes, Adrienne Barbeau, Season Hubley, Charles Cyphers, Frank Doubleday
Rating: Nominated for 4 Saturn Awards: Best Science Fiction Film, Best Director, Best Costumes, Best Makeup.
In a dystopic 1997, crime is widespread and the island of Manhattan is turned into a high security prison: once you enter you will never leave. When the president (Donald Pleasance) is captured after his plane crashes, former marine Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is offered a full pardon for his crimes if he can rescue the president within 24 hours.
In the middle of an impressive run of horror film, John Carpenter (Christine, 1983) put out this cult sci-fi action film that is just as iconic as his most well-known horror films in many ways. The dystopic landscape of Manhattan, now a giant prison where criminals are left to fend for themselves, is excellently realised and an evocative backdrop to the story. The main character, Snake Plissken, is one of the iconic characters of the action genre and with good reason; the man embodies cool and is played by a perfectly cast Kurt Russell (The Thing, 1982). Snake is a no-nonsense sort of fellow, highly capable and street smart. His abilities are (ab)used when the U.S. president is abducted. Snake most extract the president before he has to appear at an important peace conference or face the consequences. Along the way he runs into some colourful and highly memorable characters. Some of the effects are dated, but that only adds to the charm, because in the company of John Carpenter, you are bound to be entertained. Recommended.
The secret service agent trying to break into the cockpit of Airforce One in the beginning is played by Steven Ford, son of U.S. president Gerald Ford.