Escape from New York

Escape from New York ★★★★

Big trouble in Little New York... Taken apart nothing is particularly original here - a jumble of B-movie motifs, occasional horror tropes and all manner of other borrowings - but assembled as a whole it romps along, follows a straight trajectory and is great fun as a result.

Carpenter is always a lean practitioner and nary wastes effort on extraneous detail. Running to an economic 90-minutes or so per film might point to a B-movie background but thank goodness for it with a briskness of approach that atones for any lack of depth in the comic book material.

Like most of these things the enjoyment is in the setup and early incidence: the streetscapes are achieved with considerable atmosphere and Cundey and Lucas’s nighttime cinematography covers budgetary limitations. Things loosen midway once the less than interesting (or menacing) Duke is introduced, but it’s all so neatly assembled that there’s little point grumbling. It is what it is - and is all the better for it.

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