A film where in 1997 the president crash lands in Manhattan, which has been converted into a giant maximum security prison, and Snake, a convicted bank robber has been tasked with rescuing the president in 24 hours.
The city they enter is much more like its own world. The place is in ruin, but buildings are still standing, certain buildings insides are decorated to feel more like living quarters, while others are just as messed up as the streets. The streets themselves feel full of life, which is so weird for something that looks so destroyed; you see people moving in the background, shadows creeping, flames flickering, you feel like life that is there, even if you don’t see it. The city now has its own gangs, cultures, rulers, methods, areas which are avoided for fear of the people in that section. It is its own living, breathing, world, it’s living on rules of its own, and has become a place than many people now call home.
The plot of the movie is simple, there are no side goals, there is just the main objective, rescue the president, and it sticks to that and remains simple throughout. The real entertainment is focused on the characters, all of whom are an interesting and colourful bunch, and their relationships with each other.
The hero, Snake, is a man who is out for his own, and for the first time in a while I feel that this is a character who truly doesn’t care about what he says he doesn’t care about. Many heroes put up a touch guy act, or they eventually come to care for what they are doing, little films that I know of keep the hero his uncaring self. Snake is someone who follows through, he’s a war hero, a trained solider and he acts like one throughout the film. The government put 2 small explosives in his arteries, if he’s not back within the 24 hour time limit, they’ll kill him. Snake has no choice but to comply and maybe it’s his trained solider side taking control, but he pushes through, he keeps calm, calculates his enemies, stands his ground, puts up his fists and fights through. He is thoroughly enjoyable to watch.
The music is futuristic and fits the film well, but that is not why I am mentioning it here. John Carpenter is the not only the director of Escape from New York, and Halloween, he is also their composer. It’s no stretch of the imagination then that you might hear similarities in his films, and that is what happens when Snake wants to meet the Duke, the films antagonist. The music starts to play, it’s a song similar to Halloween’s main theme. It painted a picture of the Duke, something sinister such as Michael Myers, but in my mind the Duke wouldn’t come close to that, however it set the tone for him being at least a person not to be reckoned with.