Escape from L.A.

Escape from L.A. ★★

[38]

Not much to say about this one; if you’re looking for sensible plots or realistic action sequences, look elsewhere. From most scrutable angles, ESCAPE FROM L.A. is an awful film, but I’m not sure how much of it is supposed to be self-parody. I mean, this was 1996, not 1946. Several movies from that decade have special effects that still (mostly) hold up by today’s standards. The green screened elements look so ridiculously fake—e.g. Snake hanging from the crumbling ledge, the surfing sequence, the hang gliding sequence, et al—that I’m tempted to believe it was purposely made to appear bogus as some satirical poke at the genre itself. That, to me, is more believable than Carpenter thinking any of this is legitimately good, or even passable. Otherwise, the film follows a typical exaggerated action flick schema: antihero with unexplained eye-patch named Snake who always has a chip on his shoulder and is otherwise void of all emotion; completely farfetched scenario of a segregated Californian island being quarantined to hold criminals and slugs of the congruous United States; ultra-convenient domino effects that would put INDIANA JONES to shame; Snake spitting a tranquilizer dart into the forehead of his captor, only to have him fall over with a blade in his hand, landing perfectly on the ropes he’s tied up with and freeing him instantly; a secret code that exists to knock out power for the entire planet (why/how would/could this exist?); ridiculous three-point basketball challenge for survival; Snake’s incredible knack for surfing despite never having done it before; etc. The list goes on. Mildly, very, veeeeeery mildly, entertaining, if for no other reason than morbid curiosity.

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