Rob’s review published on Letterboxd:
Yes, I know, I watched this not too long ago, so I won't have a lot to add to that write-up, but my 4K Blu-Ray pre-order showed up today, it has been a pure bitch of a couple of weeks, and it feels like a Friday for familiar, pulpy cinematic comfort food.
God, how much fun is the worldbuilding in this movie? Once you buy the premise that a failing federal government walled off New York and let it go feral, John Carpenter takes that and runs with it. So we get old punk cannibal gangs living in the sewers, homegrown vaudeville entertainment in the ruined theaters, and the odd old school New Yorker like Cabbie who probably saw the feds putting the wall up and said, "Fuck you, I survived Son of Sam."
On one side, you've got a pussy English President who only cares about himself, and his main cop Angel Eyes from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. On the other, the man who immortalized John Shaft as a bad motherfucker, wearing good old Yankee blue jeans, driving American rolling iron, and at least talking about getting his people released. And in between them, Snake Plissken - Kurt Russell doing his best Clint Eastwood against Lee Van Cleef - who holds them all in equal disdain until he learns exactly where people fall on the level of priorities for each supposed leader.
Escape from New York is a simple ticking clock story with a cool setting with a pile of thought put behind it, and a hell of a antidote for two weeks of contractors in the house for ten hours at a whack, while I'm trapped in a small room with an angry, bored cat, sometimes writing five-figure checks for a bathroom that, after weeks of work, I can only take a dump in if I'm willing to clean it up off the floor.
tl;dr: Tonight, it was either this or The Money Pit. I chose wisely.