Escape from L.A.

Escape from L.A. ★½

Less of a sequel than a beat-for-beat remake, Escape from L.A. never manages to capture the same cynical overview of its predecessor, and while it's just as zany, it borders more on being annoying than being campy. It follows the same general story structure of Escape from New York (criminal forced into highly guarded prison to accomplish goal, lest he fall victim to a death-inducing device within ten hours), and yet never feels as simplistic as the 1981 film, possibly due to scattershot editing that makes the whole film feel jumbled and messy. This time around, Carpenter is too occupied with taking each plot point of Escape from New York and amping them up to eleven (with varying degrees of success), and coating them in a thick layer of awful CGI that's already dated for 1996. It could be argued Carpenter is aiming for satire of the ultra-masculine action flicks that had dominated the previous decade, but it's a weak satire if so. Whatever message Carpenter is trying to send doesn't seem particularly deep, outside of pointing out how absurd many of those movies are with a movie that's equally, if not more brainless. It at least gives Kurt Russell another chance to play the character that shot him to stardom, and despite the fifteen year gap between films, Russell seems to have the same passion for Snake Plissken as he did in 1981 (even more evident by his writing and producing credit on this film). It's just a shame that so much passion to return to this world of characters falls so flat.

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