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Escape from L.A.

3.8 out of 5 stars 247 customer reviews

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(Dec 15, 1998)
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John Carpenter's Escape From L.A.
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The man with the patch is back in this futuristic sequel to "Escape From New York." Into the 9.6 quaked L.A. of 2013 comes Snake Plissken. His job is to wade through L.A.'s ruined landmarks to retrieve a doomsday device. Don't miss the excitement as Snake surfs Wiltshire Blvd., shoots hoops at the Coliseum, dive bombs the Happy Kingdom theme park, and mixes it up with a wild assortment of friends, fiends and foes.

Kurt Russell reprises his role as Snake Plissken, of the near-future thriller Escape from New York, in this reworking of that film's basic premise. Instead of New York being a maximum-security prison, this time it's L.A., which through the agency of earthquakes has become an island of the damned. This penal colony is where the film's future rulers, something very like the Moral Majority, send those deemed guilty of "moral crimes." But something has gone wrong in this new moral order, because the President's daughter has absconded to L.A. with a detonation device, and Snake is commandeered to retrieve it. The film's dark dystopia, with its satrical elements taking aim at our dwindling freedoms, and the eclipsing of democracy by narrow interests, are more the subject this time. As a result the action suffers, and the plot devices are sometimes weak and predictable. But just below the surface there is a coiled Snake ready to strike. Steve Buscemi's performance as a weasely hawker of L.A. tour maps is a standout, and the presence of Peter Fonda and Pam Grier adds to the fun. In fact, just the sight of Fonda surfing down the flooded corridor of Sunset Boulevard is reason enough to check this movie out. --Jim Gay

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Kurt Russell, Steve Buscemi, Stacy Keach, Peter Fonda, Cliff Robertson
  • Directors: John Carpenter
  • Writers: Kurt Russell, John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Nick Castle
  • Producers: Kurt Russell, Debra Hill
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: December 15, 1998
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305222886
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,642 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Escape from L.A." on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
When I first saw this film in the theaters, I really didn't like it. In fact, I was pretty let down! I had grown up with Escape From New York, and to my horror, John Carpenter remade his own film! I'm not kidding, REMADE it. Right down to Snake getting shot in the leg and limping for the last half of the film. Years later I revaluated my opinion. You can't make a film as corny as this on accident, especially if you're a veteran director like John Carpenter; It had to be done on purpose. I've read numerous interviews over the years and have found out two things, and I think these two things are the reason this film ended up the way it did. First, John Carpenter hates sequels. He never wanted to make sequels to his films. He never wanted a sequel to Halloween(let alone six! That's why he produced Halloween 3 which people hated so much, coz he was trying to take this series in a different direction and not retread the whole Michael Myers thing). I also understand that both Carpenter and Kurt Russell were under alot of studio pressure to make this film. I don't know what kind of favor Carpenter owed the studio, but he made this film. And my theory is that he made this film intentionally bad to say to the studio, "There, I made the stinking sequel you wanted, don't ask me to do it again!" I mean really, if he had wanted to make a sequel to Escape From New York, don't you think he would have struck while the iron was hot and made it at the height of the first film's success instead of waiting 15 years? Think about it. When I consider this scenario, I can watch Escape From L.A and have a good laugh thinking that John Carpenter may have played a big joke on the Hollywood studios.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
Sequels used to be about remaking the same film again and again (remember "Friday The 13th" or "Nightmare on Elm Street"?)with minor variations so the audience gets their fix. John Carpenter, Kurt Russell and Debra Hill inverted the paradigmn reprising the best elements from "Escape from New York" while introducing a heavy dose of satire aimed squarely at the Moral Majority and groups of that nature. While not as memorable as that film, "Escape from L. A." takes perfect aim at liberal Hollywood, the conservative religious right, sequels and skewers them all dead on most of the time.

Snake Plissken is back in trouble. Captured again he's put into the service of national security against his will. It seems a device that can detonate orbital nuclear devices has been stolen by the President's daughter and delivered into the hands of a self styled rebel leader named Cuervo Jones (George Corraface)in what's left of Southern California. Cuervo plans on using this device against the United States. Plissken is sent to the island of Los Angeles to retreive the device. Yes, folks the BIG ONE finally hit and a large part of the Los Angeles basin dropped into the ocean like a ten ton weight while the remainder floats off the coast of the United States making the perfect place to deport people who don't have high moral fiber or generally tick off the President for life (Cliff Robertson in a twisted performance). Infected by a deadly designer virus that makes Ebola seem like the flu, Snake has no choice but to take the job of retrieving. Malloy (Stacy Keach stepping in for the late Lee Van Cleef)and Brazen (the beautiful Michelle Forbes late of "Star Trek: The Next Generation", "Homicide: Life on the Streets" and the second season of "24")provide Snake with his only link to the outside world.
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Format: DVD
Okay, I'll admit it. John Carpenter's "Escape From L.A." is one of my absolute favorite guilty pleasures. Where else can you see Snake riding a tidal wave? Snake shooting hoops in order to save his life? Or even Snake kicking the entire world's butt?

In 2000, an earthquake seperated Los Angeles from the U.S. and California. Now those who decide not to follow the rules (No smoking, no drugs, no alcohol, no women - unless you're married - no foul language, no red meat!) are sent there, and are not allowed to return to the U.S. In 2013, the president's daughter Utopia has stolen the doomsday device, and has fled to L.A. It's up to ex-special forces war hero Snake Plissken to recover the doomsday device, as well as the president's daughter within nine hours, or the virus he has been injected with will kill him.

The R1 DVD from Paramount features an excellent transfer of the film, but unfortunately, it's non-anamorphic. The film is presented in it's original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio. The DVD also includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, as well as a Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack. The only bonus feature on the disc is the theatrical trailer. It'd be nice if Paramount gave us a special edition for EFLA, containing a commentary with John Carpenter and Kurt Russell, as well as the HBO making of featurette, and deleted or extended scenes, if any.

In the end: Escape From L.A. is a minor classic that should not be missed by fans of John Carpenter, Kurt Russell, or fans of "Escape From New York".
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