Escape from New York

Escape from New York ★★★★½

Just think - and, I mean, really think - about all the post-1981 popular culture that would cease to exist without this film and Snake Plissken. Its cult iconic status transcends the experience of watching it for many, while still others are discovering it today for the first time. HALLOWEEN may be John Carpenter's deepest well, but ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK is a rich, thick vein of precious metal still waiting to be properly mined by its creators Carpenter and Castle.

Having watched ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK easily more than ten times, and twice now on 35mm, I cannot help but realize how the world of the film feels fully-fledged despite the limited locations from start to finish. In other words, there is still a whole world including New York, the rest of America, and everything else to explore. Of course there is the sequel ESCAPE FROM L.A., but I am mainly trying to illustrate a potential for expansion, continuation, more dreaming. 2012's DREDD did something similar - it focused closely on just one part of an expansive cityscape rife with criminal activity. Like ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, DREDD manages to be captivating while also capturing what for its central character is just another day in the life. Each of these movies has the distinct feel of a single episode in a continuing series, yet does not disappoint.

With just the right creative mind at the helm, I could see an off-shoot of these films - definitively not a remake, but modestly budgeted - achieve success.