Escape from LA (1996)

I decided to keep the Kurt Russell love going by watching Escape from LA next. Snake Plissken (Russell) is back, this time rescuing the President’s daughter from LA because she’s carrying a device that will can set an Electromagnetic Pulse loose that will turn the world back to the Dark Ages.

Time is still a major gripe of mine in this movie, just as it was in Escape from New York. The movie came out in 1996, and it makes the claim that 4 years after the movie came out, LA has turned into a squalid city of sin and vice that, in 2000, is separated from California by a giant earthquake. Okay, I give you that, even in 96, that was an apt description of LA from my experience, but you gave God 4 years to sink that bitch. Suffice to say that didn’t happen. The movie itself takes place in 2 years, so I guess it still has some time for Snake Plissken to get down there and start some shit. At least they realized that CGI would evolve. So we have 2 years to get full holographic recordings. We’re actually on our way there from what I’ve seen. We’ve got that lame 3D nonsense already, and I’ve seen those holographic newscasts on some station before. It’s a dumb gimmick, but a plausible one!

So Snake is again arrested, his status as badass not affected by the fact that he’s not that great at eluding the police. His help is needed again because the President’s daughter stole the EMP device – which I am ashamed to admit I kept trying to type EVP because I watch Ghost Adventures too much – and went into LA to take it to her boyfriend, Cuervo Jones. He of course, is not down like a clown, not even for Charlie Brown, but they entice him by scratching his hand and giving him a virus, which is TOTALLY different than the last movie where almost everything else happened exactly like this but it was an explosive in his neck. He gets in to LA and almost immediately gets close to getting the device from Cuervo by stealing a motorcycle and traversing his motorcade and beating ass on most of his men. Cuervo sees him running up on him with a shotgun and Cuervo takes him down with bolas. Now, if you’re not all weapon nerdy like I am, you may not know what bolas are. Bolas are a snare device dating back to the 1600’s or earlier that are basically a set of weighted balls connected by a string that you throw at something to wrap it up. Badass status slightly diminished there, Snake. You now those shotguns shoot bullets, right? Another thing you learn from this section is that when a motorcycle falls onto it’s side, it explodes into a giant ball of flame. Can’t say you didn’t learn anything, eh?

Along his way to the end of the movie, Snake meets up with a colorful cavalcade of characters. He meets “Map to the Stars” Eddy, played by Steve Buscemi, who is a nervous, shifty, sheister that Buscemi is so good at playing. He comes across the hot chick from Hot Shots Part Deux Valerina Golino, who promptly dies. He escapes from a hospital where – my favorite – Bruce Campbell plays a doctor who trades in body parts to people whose plastic surgery is failing because they’ve had too much and they need it replaced daily, a fair enough commentary on the fakeness of LA. And last but not least, Pam Grier as a transsexual named Hershey, who is so good at playing one that I originally thought she was actually a man before I knew who Pam Grier was. Not to say she’s not hot, but they messed with her voice so I thought she was a dude. I never said I was a smart kid.

So, there were some problems to this movie, the most glaring of which is that it is basically Escape from New York in LA with a better budget. I think people would’ve liked the movie better if they released it as a re-imagining and not a sequel. In the middle of the movie, after being captured by Cuervo, Snake must fight for his life in a win-or-die game of … basketball … so there THAT is. Also, being as LA was split from the world by an earthquake, the city is semi-regularly ravaged by aftershocks, which would be fine if it was actually random and not only when it advanced the plot. It seems like the writer would write himself into a corner and say “How do we get Snake out of this? Oh yes, random earthquake, someone falls down, Snake runs away”.

That all being said, I actually preferred this movie and I seemed to be one of the few. The movie got a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes and Escape from New York got 80 something. I think a lot of that probably comes from the fact that it was basically the same movie, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t make someone just think it’s like the first one with better graphics and more explosions. For a brief time I tried to find out what people’s problem was with this movie, then I realized I don’t care. I give this movie a “Fuck you guys, it’s better than the first” out of 27.