Ethan Colburn’s review published on Letterboxd:
An absolute insane concept I'm surprised works as well as it does.
This movie is pure-blood 80s, good and bad. From the special effects (which do age quite well) to the score. I'm always impressed that Carpenter does his own scores, its effect really shows in his respect for the music throughout his filmography. Clint Eastwood is the only other director I can think that score their own work, though Carpenter's scores tend to be much more iconic.
I'm used to Kurt Russell adding more humanity to his roles, and couldn't help but think he could have added more, however Snake Plisskin is an absolute ripped icon. While I thought his performance in The Thing was better, this character is more iconic in the cultural zeitgeist.
Carpenter is also the master of mood. His ability to make a convincing apocalyptic New York City on a modest budget it extremely impressive. Every detail, from the trash on the streets to Isaac Hayes' magnificent car seemed perfectly placed. While his workarounds made up for the budgetary constraints, I would be interested in seeing James Cameron's version of this movie.
Kurt Russell with eye patch goes into prison island, saves president from evil gang, really what more do you want on a Wednesday night?