In the far away timeline of 1997(huh?), crime has risen nearly 400% so prior to that in 1988 New York City has been converted into the world’s maximum security end all prison. Those that have been convicted of high treasonous crimes are deported to New York and given no chance of parole. New York is surrounded by a 50-foot high wall of concrete and razor wire, the bridges are mind and waterways are patrolled by regular routine helicopter fly bys. The United States Police forces are camped around it like an army. China, The Soviet Union (Communism is the wave of the future!) and America are in negotiations when Air Force One is hijacked by a terrorist liberation front called the National Liberation Front causing the President to use an escape pod and landing in the prison. A rescue attempt must be made.
Lotta spoilers in the Hudson.
Hiyas folks today we review the 1981 despotic future storyline Escape from New York. Brought to us by legendary director/editor/composer John Carpenter (Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, The Fog, Remake of the Village of the Damned and Vampires) and writer/director Nick Castle (Major Payne, The Last Starfighter and Taps) America has become a police state enforcing law with extreme prejudice and vital information needed for the summit, Police Commissioner Robert Hauk (Lee Van Cleef of The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Gunsmoke and Have Gun Will Travel) must recruit former special forces solider “Snake” Plissken (Kurt Russel of The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, Escape from L.A.) to infiltrate the prison, get back the President (Donald Pleasance of You Only Live Twice, Halloween 1,2,4,5,6) and off the island in 24 hours. A full pardon is offered for this blatant suicide mission and Snake is tagged with a dissolving explosive in his system to keep him in check. Snake uses a glider to land on the Sears Tower in order to take off at a later date. Getting to ground; Snake runs into a cornucopia of criminal elements of all types, ranging from cannibals, small time offenders to mass murderers. Now added by temporary alliances the clock is running out for the President and Plissken must reluctantly save the day.
At this point I would love to point out what it is about this movie that makes it so enjoyable. Cost effective effects for the glider’s radar was done with a scale model of Manhattan Island with a series of reflective tape to look like a mapping process. With a 6 million budget in 1981 managed matt based shots, aerial helicopter shots of which was used with the St. Louis National Guard as Blackhawk police copters and furthermore due to the fire in 1973 for two days; this area’s safety was blocks devastation that according to Carpenter it spoke volumes to him and was the ideal set for his steady cams via dolly track. His minimum lighting techniques always give his films a more eerie feel in the same fashion Hitchcock had. His love of anamorphic camera lens gives his sets more scope and depth to the film.
If you enjoy this particular genre of possible futures, Do NOT skip this film. With memorable lines, excellent character development, this is an overall great experience to be had.