Escape from New York

Escape from New York ★★★

Escape from New York is a tricky one to convey the tone I need on how I feel about this film. It's one of those movies where there is stuff I want to highlight and praise, and virtually nothing I can point to as significant flaws, but my excitement is still tempered. It just lacks a big draw to put it over the top as something I care a lot about. I was torn between a rating of 3 and 3.5, then I forgot to review this for two days, basically only now remembering that I watched it recently. So yeah, 3 it is.

Which, again, is a shame because I respect a lot of what is going on here. It's so economical. I went in expecting a big spectacle, with large-scale action scenes and explosions and whatnot. However, the reality is that things are kept simple. Action is quick and efficient. The city's dangerous, gritty vibe is adequately conveyed through small slices. Even the finale is basically just one guy chasing some other people and a very short bit of shooting. I respect not going too large, as overdone action can make my eyes start to glaze over. But there's also never really a moment where I'm truly excited by what is happening. The characters nail being amusing in their very thin one-dimensional roles, yet never step beyond that. There are themes I can force out, clearly a man is being used as a disposable tool by the government and it very much condemns that attitude, though overall this movie doesn't feel as ideologically upfront and consistent as Carpenter's They Live. I think people could pull out multiple contradictory ideas with sound justifications for them here. I must admit I hoped for a little more from a film taking on a sort of police state / mass incarceration story.

Yet I didn't mind watching it for a moment. This quite effectively passes the time, I just wish I wasn't already forgetting it.

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