mattmav45’s review published on Letterboxd:
Expectations can be a bitch, particularly in the cinematic realm. Unfortunately for the viewer, such dynamic held true to form here.
The island of Manhattan has turned into a maximum security prison. A damn wall has been built around the exterior of said island, and accompanying said wall are numerous amounts of guards with an unlimited display of arsenal at their disposal. After the President crashes into the forsaken wasteland, newly convicted criminal, but renowned war veteran, "Snake" Plissken (what a name, what a name), is called to lead the commander-in-chief to safety. Let the infiltration begin, plain and simple.
Carpenter always seems to be at ease in world-building, and such accommodation is prevalent here. A unique setting and characters within said setting are enough to make for an initial half hour of cinematic viewing. The setting and characters ultimately only take the film so far. Unfortunately, I can't help but feel that the film spins its damn wheels far too often.
Make no mistake, a slow and deliberate pacing style is used. Moreso than action, this is a offering of suspense cinema above all else. Not a problem per se, but the film is somewhat lacking in plot. This is compounded by the fact that the viewing itself is actually quite dated. Sure, it's charming at times, but over the course of the run time the lack of plot along with the dated effects just don't hold up very well. It's not a bad viewing, but I'll be damned if I didn't find it to be an underwhelming one.
Carpenter cinema that, while always interesting, failed to truly capture my cinematic soul.