Jacob Gehman’s review published on Letterboxd:
My original review for this was not kind—1.5 stars is never a kind rating—although a lot of it was based on the disappointment that Escape from New York is branded as a prison escape film. Which it is on a nit-picky plot basis; the feel, however, is not that of prison, but post-apocalyptic dystopia. Getting Fallout rubble porn instead of prison put me on a back foot I couldn't recover from. As such, I hoped that returning to the film, proper expectations in place, would reveal the revered classic so many people see Escape from New York as.
Well, that was optimistic. Didn't happen. I did add a star to my rating—no mean feat!—but I still feel like I'm watching a different film than everyone else.
I said in my first review that Kurt Russell's character, Snake Plisskin (da fuq is that name?), is always the least interesting character on screen. And I think that really forms the heart of my bland reaction to this. Snake is flat by design: More of a doer than a charismatic leader. A demander, not a diplomatic common-ground finder. And that's fine, to an extent, but he's still our protagonist so there needs to be some kind of connection. Some stories can take that character type and forge that connection by showing at the end that the character has changed. Maybe they start off acting out of self-interest, then by the end they're working to a larger goal. Evolution. Maturation. Another way this character type can form a connection with the viewer is through the supporting characters; if people in the film connect—actually form relationships with a Plisskin-type—then as an audience we can too. Snake doesn't change, he doesn't connect, he's just single-mindedly chasing the key that will allow him to live, and end credits.
But I guess that's all moot because I'm just about the only person that doesn't like this film.