Escape from New York

Escape from New York ★★★★

Blank Check podcast watch along:
John Carpenter

Major blindspot for me that I was really excited to get to! The first theatrical collaboration between Russell and Carpenter has the director back in Assault on Precinct 13 mode with a grungy cops+criminals vs the bad guys action flick. The premise is incredible and incredibly silly: what if New York City was walled off and turned into a maximum security prison but the president is taken hostage there? Naturally the man to extract him is an eyepatch-sporting Kurt Russell insisting on being called Snake to everyone who'll listen. The worldbuilding is most of the fun once we're inside the walls of New York with a chandelier-mounted car, an underground society, and even some broadway still living on. Plenty of dry stretches but then you get things like Harry Dean Stanton playing a character called Brain and all is forgiven. The ending does a lot to push this over the top between Pleasance gunning down Duke, Snake reverting back to Plissken, and some political commentary sprinkled over that predictable "badass walks into sunset" final shot.