Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Escape from L.A.

Watched June 8, 2013

Starring: Kurt Russell, Steve Buscemi, Georges Corraface, Stacy Keach, Pam Grier.

After some terrible earthquakes and flooding in the late 1990's, LA breaks off from the continental US and turns into a island. There is a conservative uprising with the the president revoking term limits and the US becomes a extremist conservative state. Instead of like in Escape from New York, where Manhattan island is turned into a penal colony, all sorts of miscreants are now sent to the island of LA. The president's daughter, Utopia (A.J. Langer) while on airforce 3 steals a top secret briefcase and takes it to LA, where she hooks up with Cuervo (Georges Corraface) a radical who want to use it to attack the US. It is now the year 2013, Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is once again hired by the government to go in and retrieve, not the president this time, but the briefcase. He is given an 8 hour time limit by infecting him with a secret disease that only they have the antidote to, so he got to hussle before he dies in there. The government plays it like they finally captured Snake and are just dumping him in LA, like they do to everyone who breaks the strict morality code.

 Since this movie was made in the mid-90's, Snake is given a terrible CG single person submarine which he uses to arrive on the island. It's also supposed to be the way he gets off the island once he's done but it falls into the water instead of staying docked on the beach. He immediately meets some surfers, including Peter Fonda and they all know the legend of Snake Plissken. Off he goes on his completely ridiculous mission that is really a serious of strange interactions and battles. Of course my favorite part is Bruce Campbell as the General Plastic Surgeon of LA, who's face is a grotesque mash up of all the common procedures like a super straight nose, naturally killer chin and huge cheek implants.

Everyone is contantly shooting at Snake while recognizing him, but he barely gets a scratch. He meets up with Map to the Stars Eddie (Steve Buscemi) who you think is just trying to help him get around but ends up double crossing him. Snake finds Cuervo but is captured and forced to play basketball for his life. Snake is the first person to win this full court shot challenge, but Cuervo tries to kill him anyway. Snake manages to get the briefcase that contains the micro CD that the president wants back. The micro CD contains the world codes to activate specific satellites that can knock out the power to any country. There is also a world code that would trigger the shut down of the entire world. 

After some more crazy things like hang gliding on the Santa Ana winds and surfing the canyons on an aftershock tsunami, Snake manages to steal a helicopter. He grabs Utopia, the briefcase and makes it to the mainland just in time for the virus they gave him to completely take hold. The virus was a ruse though, it was the run of the mill flu.  The president and his men are waiting there and they retrieve the briefcase and shoot Snake, but Snake was using special holographic technology they had given him to trick them. He then takes the real disc and uses it to shut down the entire world so everyone gets a fresh start. I guess he then had to find a nice tree to hide under as he got over his flu symptoms.

By no means does this movie compare with Escape from New York, but it's some silly fun. The tone is all over the place, with serious stuff tempered by some goofy moments. The soundtrack features then popular hard rock from bands I thought sucked in high school like Stabbing Westward, Gravity Kills, and Tool along with some strange western tinged songs that give it a future western vibe.  The CGI looks terribly dated, but the other special effects hold up pretty well. It is definitely a sequel in repeating the plot of the first but not making a progressive strides to let it stand apart. It was fun to coincidentally watch it in the year that it's supposed to take place, I should keep an eye out for that with more future past movies.

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