The United States of 2013, a brutal totalitarian dictatorship. As a result of natural disasters, Los Angeles has become an island where all elements undesirable to the government are exiled. Serpent Plissken, who once performed the impossible “Escape from New York” is again needed by the authorities to perform the task, which no one but him can cope – you must return the president’s daughter, who stole a sample of a secret weapon of mass destruction. Complete the mission Snake must for 10 hours, otherwise a deadly virus injected into his blood, will begin to operate. Armed to the teeth and ready for anything, Plissken goes to Los Angeles.
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Throughout his long career, director and screenwriter John Carpenter has had to prove to producers that he knows exactly what he is doing and that there is enough perspective in his stories to interest the widest audience. Not the easiest way to the screens and for the picture “Escape from New York”, inspired by the famous Watergate scandal. Unwilling to finance what they saw as an overly violent film, studio executives responded to Carpenter with a firm refusal, not realizing what was really slipping through their fingers. Having directed the cult slasher “Halloween”, Carpenter still got his way and, with the help of independent producers, still managed to realize the idea of “Escape from New York” to the extent that he wanted. The adventures of the brave outlaw Snake Plisskin repeatedly paid off at the box office in the homeland and achieved special recognition abroad, thus once again exalting his creator, who continues to fight for his name and reputation. And not surprisingly, after such a significant box office and artistic result, it was planned to continue the story of Plisskin in a sequel, which was to appear at the box office without a long break. However, the script, written by Coleman Luck, fell into the very real production scorcher, which caused the sequel to the iconic Escape from New York to be postponed indefinitely. It was only when the city of Los Angeles was an earthquake that struck the whole of America, in close company again gathered John Carpenter, Kurt Russell and producer Debra Hill, in order to build on what happened a slightly different story than that conceived by Luck, and weave the arising after the disaster alarm in the next adventure Plisskin Snake. The movie, called “Escape from Los Angeles”, got a respectable budget of 50 million dollars, which was nothing compared to the original, but still the time gap between the pictures of the series was too big, and the audience was in no hurry to pay attention to Carpenter’s work, despite all the love and respect to “Escape from New York”. However, despite the box office failure, the sequel to Plisskin’s perpetual escape is still capable of generating interest despite its many artistic problems.
So, the plot of the movie explains to us that on August 23, 2000, there was a massive earthquake near Los Angeles, which caused part of the mainland to go underwater and the City of Angels itself turned into an island, which is not so easy to reach anymore. The official authorities thus did not aspire at all to help the people who have appeared in hostages as in opinion of politicians long ago Los Angeles has turned into the abode of sin which needs to be isolated from the civilized society. One of the most fierce opponents of the building of bridges and communications leading to the city separated from the rest of America was the candidate for the President of the United States (Cliff Robertson), who after all some time managed to get the most important post in the country. And the new President decided not to miss the opportunity to make his mark on history by embarking on a radical rethinking of civil liberties, depriving people of the minimal right to self-expression. In turn, Los Angeles became a symbol of the so-called new order, which now housed another huge prison that lives by the laws of the infamous Manhattan, from which it is virtually impossible to escape.
The main part of events of the movie unfolds long 13 years after the President took office and was absolutely unwilling to part with it, having secured himself by special constitutional amendments. Feeling the power to rule the fate of almost the entire planet, the head of state got his hands on a crushing weapon that can turn off the electrical pulse anywhere on earth. And since no other country in the world is able to counteract this system with anything equally crushing, the president has become rightfully considered the most influential man alive. But his ambitions are not shared at all by his rebellious daughter Utopia (E. J. Langer), who has stolen the system control panel from her father and gone to the heart of Los Angeles, where she is kindly sheltered by local resistance leader Cuervo Jones (Georges Corrafas), who fancies himself no other than Che Guevara of the near future. The President, discouraged by his daughter’s decision, is nevertheless not about to give up and forces Snake Plisskin (Russell), again arrested for numerous crimes, to remember the old days and go to the den of crime to retrieve the priceless relic. Traditionally, no one offers Plisskin any time for reasoning, and he has only a few hours left to complete his mission, after which something very bad might happen. So Plisskin sets off on his mission again, knowing full well that his conversation with the President is not over.
Contrary to the fact that “Escape from Los Angeles” was filmed already in the 90s, John Carpenter desperately refuses to keep up with the times, which did not reflect well on its relationship with the younger generation of viewers. The considerable production budget of the sequel does not really allow the creators to distinguish this chapter from the original. Carpenter as if on purpose slows down the technical progress, due to what it is very difficult to tempt the viewer, who has already got acquainted with “Terminator 2” and “Jurassic Park”, tempted by expensive spectacular productions. Certainly, the old-school work can be justified by nostalgia, but Carpenter still had enough budget at his disposal to use it directly for its intended purpose and not to play sad games that only fans of the vintage “Escape from New York” appreciated. And even the computer effects, which, among other things, animated a disgusting tsunami wave, failed to add visual freshness to the picture. In this connection, it is not surprising that a large part of the potential audience preferred completely different films, never being interested in the return of Snake Plisskin, which repeats exactly the same thing that he did a decade and a half ago.
However, despite the unimpressive effects and sets and the secondary nature of the plot, Escape from L.A. is still interesting for its ironic satire, which is directed at an American democracy that is not nearly as liberal as it would like to appear. Carpenter looks with an undisguised sneer at the institution of the President, his subordinate intelligence services and the ministries running the country. Of course, the director exaggerates the situation to the point of turning his story into a farce, but it was also quite amusing to observe a near-future America in which manipulation flourishes and civil rights and freedoms are purely nominal. The infectious dystopia of Escape from New York is lost here, but this artistic approach can be embraced. The world is changing, and even if Plisskin’s adventures are somewhat monotonous, we see from the situation around him that only people of action and inflexible will remain valuable in any circumstance, and only they are able to somehow influence the course of social processes. For this reason, Carpenter’s film, though imperfect, is still worthy of attention.
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (75.1 Mb/s)
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
German: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish.