Arto’s review published on Letterboxd:
January's Cyberpunk/Tech/Sci-Fi Movie Marathon (#8) w/commentary
I know this isn't Cyberpunk but outside of advanced tech, it has pretty much all the requisites: a bleak dystopian near future with a cynical shady lowlife for a protagonist being forced by "The Man" to complete a mission or die. In a lot of ways Escape can even be considered a Neo Western. It all depends on how you look at it. I was able to get my hands on the commentary used for the laserdisc release back in the 90's. I'm not sure if they ever brought it back for the special edition but it's still a great listen that's worth your time, especially if you're fan of the film and John Carpenter. Between this and the commentaries for The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China, I'd say those are both slightly better but if you're as much a fan of those commentaries as I was then you should waste no time in hearing this. It makes me wish Kurt Russell was in every Carpenter film just so they could do more commentary together.
As for the film, I had only seen it once back in high school and enjoyed it but at the same time thought it was overhyped. Watching it again though made me appreciate it in a whole new light, especially hearing Carpenter describe his creative choices and the difficulties he underwent to make it all seem authentic without getting too campy. When compared on a technical scale to other films around the time like Blade Runner, Escape from New York is small potatoes but it still is inspirational to hear Carpenter talk about what he did to get the look and atmosphere down on such a small budget, and Kurt Russell is always fun to listen to.