I love these old gems that somehow pass you by until one day you stumble upon them again completely unaware of their amazingness.
The year is 1998. Due to huge crime rates, the United States turns its once great city of New York into a maximum security prison where hardcore criminals are put for life. All the bridges leading into the city are mined, a large wall is built along the shoreline and a large police force army is based there to stop or kill any attempted escapees. En route to a conference, the President, on board Air Force One, is forced to eject in a pod when a female terrorist takes over the controls and crashes the plane into a building. A new prisoner, ex-soldier Snake Plissken is offered his freedom if he goes in, frees the President and finds a tape with important information for the conference. Snake agrees but to ensure his co-operation he is injected with a small but powerful explosive that will only be destroyed if his mission is successful. Snake must set out into the decaying city, filled with immoral criminals, and he must succeed - for his own life.
It's a down to the second nose to nose with death or life race through the dirty rotting city streets of what was once New York. Kirt Russell although playing the ultimate bad ass is by no means a super bad ass. He still feels, he still fails, and he still bleeds. I loved Kurt Russell in this movie. Two of his best movies have come from early Carpenter, this one and The Thing.
The post apocalyptic New York was surprisingly believable. Fires burning around every corner, flipped cars on every street, shadows of people constantly running through the alleys, and the really bad ones who come out of the sewers once a month for food.
I loved the different layers of urgency that Carpenter created. Not only was the President trapped, but he carries information that MUST be delivered by a certain time or it effects the whole planet. Not only is snake racing against this clock but also he has been injected with a poison that must be neutralized in 23 hours. TICK TOCK TICK TOCK.
When watching this film I realized that the remake could either be AMAZING or AWFUL. If they keep it simple. If they don't try to outdo the original then a whole generation will get a new taste of something possibly missed. If filmmakers try to outdo the original we are in for a bloody mess. Example...in the gladiatorial scene where Snake is pitted against stereotypical MONSTER MAN. In this scene they're in an old boxing arena. In the remake if they try to put this scene in the epic Madison Square Garden then we lose something. But in the same vein I have no beef with Butler putting on the eye patch...even if he ain't American.(climbing down from soap box)
An amazing movie. I'm glad I didn't miss it.