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Escape from LA (1996)

Snake is back, and this time he’s really angry

Directed by:

John Carpenter

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 97 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

In the year 2013, Los Angeles is no longer a part of the United States. Separated from the mainland during an earthquake, it is now an island to which people who have had their citizenship revoked for not obeying the rigid rules of the US are sent. Anarchic and out of control, it is a place where revolution against the US is fomenting. In this dangerous place arises a new leader, Cuervo Jones (George Corraface), who uses technology to brainwash the US President's (Cliff Robertson) lonely daughter, Utopia (AJ Langer). Under his influence, she steals the controls to a new super-weapon and hijacks a plane to get to LA.

Once again, the US has to turn to notorious rebel Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) for help. He is promised freedom and a clean slate in exchange for recovering the device. However, the reluctant Snake is unconvinced until he learns that they have infected him with a genetically-modified virus that will kill him within hours unless he completes the mission and returns to receive the antidote. Snake is committed to his dangerous task, but he is extremely angry, and when Snake is angry anything can happen.

This is a fun action film that successfully fills a few hours, but hardly lives up to the original. Kurt Russell scowls his way through the role of Snake, but somehow always just looks like Kurt Russell acting fierce. The heat-concealing suit is obviously just as excuse to get Russell into black leather, since it appears to be of no use in LA (although it serves to counterproductively hide him from the US control room). Sadly, although he looks great in the coat, the rest of it is just silly. The stunts are fine as far as they go, but unfortunately they are unconvincing – surfing a tsunami and paragliding though the streets of LA look contrived and artificial, and raise laughs rather than gasps.

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It's Got: Plenty of action.

It Needs: A bit more plausibility.

DVD Extras Could do better. Extras: Theatrical Trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Alternatives:

Escape from New York, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Waterworld

Summary

A fun action movie, but not a patch on the original.

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