Movie Review: Escape from New York (1981)

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Raise your hand if you like 1980’s/1990’s action. Okay, now let’s all sit down and relax… good. And while you sit down and relax, let me review a 1980’s action movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Escape from New York”.

The year is 1997 (Hey, the year I was born!) and the USA has gone to shit. Because of ultra high crime-rates, the entire city of New York has been turned into a maximum security prison. Then one night, the US president (Donald Pleasence) crashes into the giant city and gets captured by crazy people. So then a police chief named Hauk (Lee Van Cleef, R.I.P) decides to send in criminal & manly-man Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) into the city to go in and save the president. The idea I personally think is great, turning a familiar environment into a hostile and dark place for the sake of entertainment… genius. Problem is that for some reason I never really felt invested in it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea and the pacing was very good, but I jsut didn’t feel that invested into it. So let me put it like this, the plot was good, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should’ve.

The characters in the movie are colorful, entertaining and Kurt Russell decided to try to do his best Clint Eastwood impression. And you know what? All those factors come together so well that I can’t really criticize it. Sure, it’s cheesy but it is also incredibly fun and entertaining. Kurt Russell in this movie is really good in this movie as the macho manly-man Snake Plissken. Is he cheesy with the Clint Eastwood voice? Yes, but I still enjoyed it a lot. And I can’t help it, whenever I see Lee Van Cleef on screen in a movie I just have to smile… I love that guy. And Ernest Borgnine is a million flavors of fun in this movie as well. Every character in this movie is entertaining and every actor does a great job.

Fun fact: the score for the movie was done by none other than the director, John Carpenter. And it is the typical synth-based sci-fi/thriller soundtrack that you would maybe expect at the time. Not that it’s a bad thing, I did rather enjoy the music in the movie. It fit in very well and was used to really good effect.

Like I said, this movie was directed by John Carpenter who delivered a very well-directed and tense style to the movie. However I feel like the movie could be a little brighter because a large amount of the time it was difficult to see. I’m not saying that it should be really bright and happy and colorful and such, I am just asking for it to be a little brighter so I can see the action going on. That is anotehr thing, the action… it’s fine. Nothing special, it’s fine action.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. Roger Ebert never made a review of it. But it does exist on imdb.com at least and has a score of 7,2/10. Weird, the movie only exists on two of my regular sites…

“Escape from New York” is a decent action movie with a pretty good plot even though I wasn’t very invested in it, it had fun characters, good music and good direction despite being a bit too dark. Time for my final score. *Cough* My final score for “Escape from New York” is an 8,88/10. It is worth buying.
Worth buying

Review of “Escape from New York” is completed.

If you look closely at the plot, you’ll notice that this movie definitely inspired parts of the game “Batman: Arkham City”.

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