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John Carpenter
Kurt Russell, Steve Buscemi, AJ Langer
Writing Credits:
John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Kurt Russell

Snake Plissken is once again called in by the United States government to recover a potential doomsday device from Los Angeles, now an autonomous island where undesirables are deported.

Box Office:
$50 million.
Opening Weekend
$8,912,557 on 2312 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 5/4/2010

• Trailer


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Escape From LA [Blu-Ray] (1996)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 18, 2022)

Upon release in 1981, John Carpenter’s Escape From New York failed to make a major dent at the US box office. Among the year’s release, it wound up in 32nd place, two spots below Halloween II, the first sequel to Carpenter’s breakout 1978 hit.

However, Escape from New York found a strong cult audience over time. 15 years later, that following allowed Carpenter to create a follow-up via 1996’s Escape From LA.

Set in the then-future of 2013, earthquakes caused Los Angeles to separate from the rest of California and become its own island. The US also became a “moral society” so those who don’t follow a rigid code find themselves sent to LA, now used as a massive prison.

Terrorist leader Cuervo Jones (Georges Corraface) steals a doomsday device, a task aided by assistance from Utopia (AJ Langer), the brainwashed runaway daughter of the president (Cliff Robertson). Once again, anti-hero Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) gets the assignment to infiltrate a penal island and save the day.

Despite the first flick’s following, LA did worse business theatrically. It made a mere $25 million in the US and wound up in 63rd place for the year.

Unlike its predecessor, however, LA never got the same kind of reappraisal that greeted New York. Carpenter enjoys enough of a cult audience that LA maintains an audience, but it seems much less well-regarded than the original film,

Which might be because LA offers a considerably weaker film than New York. While I never loved the 1981 flick, it works a whole lot better than this feeble retread.

And take “retread” fairly literally, as LA usually feels like a remake of its predecessor. The setting allows for some curveballs, and the story finds a few minor ways to change the tale, but both flicks clearly come from the same gameplan.

That feels like a mistake, especially given how beloved New York became. If LA offered a narrative that clearly diverged from the plot of the first movie, it would feel more creative.

The use of a similar story seems to set up LA for failure. Given the similarities, fans appear likely to directly compare the two and feel disappointed that LA fails to adequately compare to the original.

There’s just a stale smell about LA. Carpenter clearly understood that New York got a good cult following in the 15 years between movies, so he apparently figured he could capitalize on this by giving the fans what they already had, just in a different location.

Perhaps if Carpenter found other ways to bring spark to the material, the “semi-remake” vibe would seem less disappointing. However, even with the fertile territory for fun adventure through the SoCal setting, Carpenter doesn’t manage to do much to form lively adventures.

Basically Snake plods around LA on his quest, interacts with locals – some helpful, some not – and tries to stay alive. Outside of a handful of area-specific gags – like one on surfboards – we don’t find much that wouldn’t also work in New York.

LA enjoys a good cast. In addition to Russell and Robertson, Carpenter loads the flicks with folks like Steve Buscemi, Pam Grier, Peter Fonda, Stacy Keach, Bruce Campbell and others.

Carpenter also proved prescient in the way he predicted a political shift to the hard right and the dangerous side of social networks. Cuervo recruits Utopia via “VR rooms” that seem awfully familiar to those of us today.

Despite those depressingly accurate predictions, Escape From LA becomes a dud. Carpenter can’t figure out a new way to feature his anti-hero so he just gives us more of the same, and this fails to turn into a winning formula.

The Disc Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus D-

Escape From LA appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became an erratic but more than adequate presentation.

For the most part, sharpness seemed fine. Occasional instances of softness arose, but these didn’t create persistent issues.

I saw no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, but light edge haloes cropped up at times. Grain felt fairly natural, and print flaws remained restricted to a smattering of small specks.

Unlike the prior film, LA boasted a pretty vivid palette, and the colors usually looked pretty good. The hues came across with reasonable clarity and range.

Blacks felt largely deep and dense, while shadows seemed mostly smooth. Between the softness and the specks, this turned into a “B-“ image.

Despite the movie’s action orientation, the film’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack didn’t dazzle. Still, it offered some decent material.

The soundscape offered moderately engaging use of the various channels. These integrated pretty well and created a mostly appealing sense of the fireworks.

However, the soundfield usually remained a bit on the underwhelming side. It did enough to complement the story but not enough to make it impressive.

Audio quality worked fine, with speech that seemed natural and concise. Music showed good range and impact as well.

Effects delivered pretty solid accuracy and clarity, even if they didn’t knock me out of my seat. This was a perfectly decent soundtrack that just lacked what it needed to impress.

The Blu-ray comes with a trailer but it lacks any other extras.

15 years after his debut, Snake Plissken returned for Escape From LA. Unfortunately, the sequel fails to recapture the highs of its predecessor, so it turns into a lackluster rehash. The Blu-ray boasts erratic but generally good picture as well as reasonably positive audio and almost no supplements. LA doesn’t turn into a terrible movie, but it feels stale and mediocre.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 3
0 3:
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