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Escape from L.A. (1996): Same Shit, Different City

Escape from L. A. (John Carpenter, 1996)

Kurt Russell superimposed over Los Angeles in flames comprises the movie poster.

Plisskin fiddles while Angels burn.
photo credit: Wikipedia

There was a time when John Carpenter’s name on a movie guaranteed quality. For my money, that time started with 1974’s Dark Star and ended with 1988’s They Live. Still, a number of the post-They Live movies are at least watchable, if stupid, fun; I even enjoyed Ghosts of Mars, though “enjoyed” is used kind of loosely there. Escape from L.A., on the other hand, puts Carpenter in a unique position in the annals of Goat Central: he is the only director to have the first film in a series in my thousand best movies of all time list and a later film in the series in my hundred worst.

Plot: …well, if you’ve seen Escape from New York, you know the plot. Why? Because this movie is as close to an exact replica of Escape from New York as it could possibly be without Carpenter having to sue himself for plagiarism. I mean, he even duplicated the big boxing-ring fight scene that was so much fun in the original. Here, it just feels tired, as does most of the rest of this movie. This is the same guy who directed Cigarette Burns, much less The Fog? Say it isn’t so. ½


Somehow, this is a “classic” trailer, it would seem.

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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