Dir.: John Carpenter
Starring: Kurt Russell, Cliff Robertson, Stacy Keach, Valeria Golino, Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda, Bruce Campbell, Pam Grier, Georges Corraface and AJ Langer
While spanked like that red-haired stepchild you keep under the stairs and only let out at night, Escape From LA was a joke that nobody quite got upon its released resulting in its less than ideal reception, thereby deeply disheartening John Carpenter. If you look at it as a straight up action movie, you may find it bad, but if you look at it as a loving slap at the action genre, it works, though to differing degrees. While made before its time, there is no doubt Snake’s second adventure is best enjoyed retrospectively with an aware mind- this is Carpenter not only slapping the Illuminati-esque institution of Hollywood, this is also him slapping himself, hard, with a riding crop. This is JC having fun, this is JC inviting his favourite people to a party and this is a result of their collective partying. This film may be seen as self-defeatist, but in all actuality, this is the director making it perfectly clear that he still had that indie spirit that made him a paragon before he was seen by those in The Biz as a pariah. Taking the elements of the action genre, shaking it up and presenting it back to you in its warped form, it shows you that irony isn’t the only way to make something silly and fun all the while retaining a definite sense of smarts, for example, that ending? Brilliant. An acquired taste to be sure, but you know what? The best thing about this movie is that unlike it’s deeply fascist President character, it doesn’t force it’s beliefs on you, all it does is show them to you and it’s your decision alone to agree or disagree- either way, it’s gonna be laughing, Suddenly Tsunamis and all!
Come on- you can see Kurt dressing to this music every day he gets up.