Escape from New York

Escape from New York ★★★★

Exploitation adventure filmmaking at its finest! John Carpenter's Escape from New York has been on my list for awhile and I figured it was about time I crossed it off. Don't get me wrong, this wasn't just checking a box. I was genuinely excited to finally see this and as I hoped, Carpenter did not let me down.

While the fight choreography is pretty cheesy, the adventure of it all more than makes up for that. Plus, the fight scenes are few and far between. The real focus is how it all feels. The atmosphere and mood are great. Russell being lit by the control panel in the glider is awesome looking and the shot of Brain and Maggie entering the car while Snake throws a body out looked amazing. The lighting is my favorite aspect of this movie and pairs wonderfully with the music. I am, by now, far beyond being just "familiar" with the gravity that Carpenter's scores have and this one is no different. The track when the crazies come out of the sewer is particularly excellent.

I randomly got a Wizard of Oz vibe all of a sudden. When Snake first meets Brain and the group of 4 leaves to go find the Duke, the way they all line up in the street suddenly reminded me of the moment when Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion all were walking down the corridor to see the Wizard. To further the comparison, the "cowardly" cabbie suddenly flees away in his taxi leaving the other three to find their own way. That is really where the comparison ends though, but it stuck with me as I found it rather funny. The fight in the wrestling ring had a Thunderdome feel to it.

Bringing it all together was that tense, down to the wire, ending with Snake racing to survive. Normally, with a film like this, it is pretty obvious what the fate of our hero will be, but I was seriously beginning to worry. Especially considering that multiple characters meet their end in the final stretch. It was a definite nail biter and it was wonderful. That ending with the cassette tape was just the cherry on top. I have found a new favorite Carpenter film. It still doesn't beat out his now classic contributions to horror cinema (The Thing and Halloween), but this is one to watch for sure, especially if you are already a fan.

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