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Escape from L.A.

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R
1996

Escape from L.A. is a 1996 dystopian-turned-action film directed by John Carpenter, starring Kurt Russel as the main protagonist, Snake Plissken, with Steve Buscemi as the deceptive mapmaker, Harold "Brain" Helmann, and Stacy Keach as the ruthless yet strategic police commissioner, Malloy.

The film takes place in 2013, only sixteen years after the events of its predecessor, Escape from New York. The storyline starts with an earthquake that destroys the entire city of Los Angeles and separates it from the mainland, making it an island prison. President of the United States (played by Cliff Robertson) orders Plissken to retrieve and destroy a device capable of ending the world located in L.A. before a terrorist group led by Cuervo Jones (played by the Latin pop-star, Enrique Iglesias) can use it for their own terrible purposes.

With only 9 hours to complete his mission, Snake is given a carte blanche from the government, and is taken to L.A. Interacting with Hooded Ripper (Cleavon Little), whose sole mission is to bring back surfing to the city, and a transgender sex worker named Taslima (Valeria Golino), he finds out that the device is in the possession of the terrorist group he is trying to destroy.

Upon joining forces with Harold "Brain" Helmann, he learns that to get to that device, he has to participate in a game called 'The Death Rally' and beat Cuervo Jones, whose motivation is to lead the world into a better future through terrorism. The game is a.k.a gladiator games that involve cars, motorbikes, and other lethal forms of combat.

Plissken's mission is further complicated by Malloy, who challenges him to see who will save the world first, by giving him a virus, which will eventually kill him, and then ordering him to retrieve the device on the stolen U.S. Air Force stealth plane. Faced with several challenges and obstacles, Snake faces a tough test of courage, resourcefulness, and humanity while seeking to fulfill his mission and perhaps save his own life.

One of the highlights of the film is how Snake Plissken fights through the savagery, desperation, and survivalism of an urban jungle, outwitting and eliminating the terrain's violent inhabitants. The soundtrack of the movie features many famous rock music tracks from bands like Tool, White Zombie, Rufus, and Chalk Circle.

The film is also known for its unique and surrealist touches like the gladiatorial games or the secret society featured within the world of L.A., which is an ode to John Carpenter's usual Lovecraftian vibe. Although the symbolism of the world created is a bit heavy-handed, the film manages to carry on the cult 'Escape' franchise with its unconventional storytelling.

Escape from L.A. displays a strong presentation of visuals, leaning heavily on its special effects, which were considered innovative at that time, and was later parodied in films like Austin Powers. The film got mainly mixed reviews upon its release with some media outlets praising the performances of the cast, while others criticizing the film's uneven tone.

In conclusion, Escape from L.A. is an enjoyable sequel to the cult classic Escape from New York, featuring Kurt Russell delivering an entertaining Snake Plissken performance, whose journey is hindered by some poorly written dialogue and tonal inconsistencies. Although underappreciated during its release, the film is worth a watch, and even though it may not have lived up to the expectations of its predecessor, it managed to stand on its own as a cult classic in its right.

Escape from L.A. is a Action, Adventure, Science Fiction, Thriller movie released in 1996. It has a runtime of 101 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 5.7. It also holds a MetaScore of 54.

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5.7/10
54/100
Director
John Carpenter
Stars
Kurt Russell, Stacy Keach, Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda, Georges Corraface, Cliff Robertson, Michelle Forbes
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