Escape from New York

Escape from New York ★★★

John Carpenter is one of my childhood movie heroes. I loved the atmospheric, predominantly nightly scenes in his films, accompanied by matching, self-composed analog synthesizer music.

Lately I'm rewatching Carpenter's classics, and it hurts a bit to admit that the quality of some of his films had become romanticized in my memory. A few of his films have become dated, including Escape from New York. Kurt Russell is still a badass as Snake Plissken, but the rest of the movie felt like a campy 1980s stageplay. Ingredients like people being instantly unconscious after one minor hit, guns with unlimited ammunition, obviously fake fist fights, it just doesn't work anymore, and kept me from being pulled into the movie. Even the performance of 1980s cult hero Harry Dean Stanton was unusually mediocre in my humble opinion, unlike his great role in Paris, Texas.

I'm very glad that not all of Carpenter's films have become dated. I recently rewatched Christine and still quite like it. But in my opinion Carpenter's pièce de résistance is The Thing. The Thing has really survived the test of time, immortalizing Kurt Russell as the king of cool.

Fun fact: James Cameron worked on the special effects of Escape From NY, before he got famous as a director. I believe he came up with the image of the decapitated Statue of Liberty.

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