Sunday, September 3, 2017

200 Items Or Less: Escape From New York (1981)

A few thoughts: An entertaining and surprisingly reserved action movie directed by one of the kings of the genre film: John Carpenter. Set in the future world of 1997, starring Kurt Russell as one of the most overly macho action leads of all-time, this is one of those movies that still puzzles me after a half dozen viewings whether or not it's meant to be taken seriously or not. It wouldn't be out of character for Carpenter or Russell to be tongue-in-cheek, but I don't honestly know. Either way, it's a fun and intriguing movie with an absolutely incredible cast (Isaac Hayes, Harry Dean Stanton, Donald Pleasence, Ernest Borgnine, and Lee Van Cleef), and a smoothly understated musical score recorded by the director himself. The set-up is simple, the action is sparse, and the set designs are often very minimalist, but the dystopian world it creates is perfect in how stark and dirty it feels. This movie feels very lived-in; it isn't pretty to look at, but not so grubby it isn't able to show off some cool scenery. Insanely rewatchable.

Who would I recommend it to? Fans of dystopians, action movies, and cult stuff. It's a solid genre film.

My grade: B

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