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America is at war with Russia, India, China, whomever. The president is on his way to a peace summit where he will (for reasons beyond script control…) play a pre-recorded message on nuclear technology which will save the world from apocalypse. But his plane is taken down by American terrorists and crashes into Manhattan. Problem is: Manhattan is a high-security prison, whoever gets in will not get out again. An anarchic world has evolved, ruled by the Duke, plagued by The Crazies, entertained by cheesy Broadway musicals that only cab drivers enjoy. Snake Plissken, former war hero but now scheduled for spending the rest of his life in the manhattan prison for treason or theft, is offered the job to go in, get the president, get him out before the summit, and get a pardon if he manages. Death if he fails. He goes in, and with the help of Cabby and The Brain and the brain’s girlfriend with the nice boobs (of “The Fog” fame, too), his mission to stir up some Manhattan dirt starts.

Yes, I admit it (no point in denying as I wrote it in the comment to Doomsday): Escape from New York is one of my all-time favourite films and probably the one that I have seen most often. That Video 2000 tape has really done its due. I have, however, never before seen it in the none-dubbed original version. The film’s atmosphere of completely bleak desolation is unsurpassable. Kurt Russel’s Snake Plissken (“Call me Snake!”) is the coolest motherfucker that ever set a foot on cinema screens (“it is the president’s plane.” – “Whose president?”). The cast is perfect, with a slimy Donald Pleasance as president, Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau, Lee van Cleef, Isaac Hayes! Music, set design (the fight in the arena!), sound design (the flight in the plane when getting in… swoooosssshhh). Of course it is not half as intelligent as I remembered, not half as dramatic, not half as well edited, but hey, it’s from 1981! I do not dare to think about what kind of utterly forgettable piece of mainstream nonense the remake to be released next year will bring about. There should be a list of films for which remakes should be outlowed by threat of castration: I am compiling the enumeration for the Annex to that law, but “Escape from New York” should be there together with “Lawrence of Arabia”!

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