DVD review from The Movie Snob
Escape from New York (D+). I had never seen this 1981 John Carpenter classic, and all I can say is, wow. It is a low-budget cheeseball spectacular. It grabbed me from the first seconds, with the zero-frills opening credits and the soundtrack composed on somebody’s Casio keyboard. In the near future (1997, I think it said), Manhattan is a completely walled-off maximum-security prison in which the prisoners are dumped and left to fend for themselves. Air Force One is hijacked, and the president (Donald Pleasence, Halloween) unluckily bails out right into the middle of the prison. The government brass decide to enlist Manhattan’s newest prisoner, Snake Plisskin (Kurt Russell, Big Trouble in Little China), to try to rescue the prez in time for some big summit with Russia and China. Snake has lots of absurd adventures in the prison, whose inhabitants include Ernest Borgnine (From Here to Eternity), Harry Dean Stanton (Alien), Adrienne Barbeau (The Cannonball Run), and Isaac Hayes (I’m Gonna Git You Sucka). It’s kind of fun in a cheesy way, but I’m not going to hurry out and find Escape from L.A.