Movie Review: ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray

escape from ny

ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK was directed by John Carpenter and stars Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Season Hubley, Harry Dean Stanton, Joe Unger and Adrienne Barbeau.

This 1981 cult classic takes place in the year 1997 and follows Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), a former Special Forces war hero who is recruited by his prison warden Bob Hauk (Lee Van Cleef) to head out into a post-apocalyptic Manhattan that has been turned into a walled prison so he can rescue the kidnapped President of the United States (Donald Pleasence). Plissken is a war hero turned rebellious prisoner with an attitude who is pretty much forced into this rescue and must race against the clock to save the President or else. In 24 hours, an explosive device implanted in his neck will end Snake’s mission – and his life – unless he succeeds!

A plan is made and we follow Snake Plissken who quietly flies a glider into the high-rise wasteland where he begins his dangerous search for the missing President. The anti-hero comes across territorial gangs in his search and ends up meeting a few allies along the way. Cabbie (Ernest Borgnine), Brain (Harry Dean Stanton) and Maggie (Adrienne Barbeau) all become valuable allies in his search. It all ends up getting deadly once Snake meets The Duke (Isaac Hayes), a deadly leader of this post-apocalyptic Manhattan who is not only keeping the President his hostage but he now sees Snake’s arrival as a way to escape the walls of this deadly island turned prison.

With a little help from his new allies, Snake Plissken ends up rescuing the President but not without going through a few fights and one wild wrestling match along the way. The small group flees towards the wall where they’re chased down by the sadistic Duke who still wants to escape. Not all of them make it out alive and it’s the President himself who ends up getting a little sweet revenge against his former captor. Snake Plissken saves the day which means he also saves his own life. What’s funny is, he ends up getting another offer from Hauk, the man who forced him into this mess in the first place. Of course Snake being the outlaw rebel that he is, doesn’t give Hauk the answer he’s looking for and Plissken lights up and walks away a free man.

Okay, this movie already holds a special place in my heart from the first time I watched it as a little kid on HBO in the late 80’s. Yes, I remember watching this movie for the first time at my grandma’s house and it just stayed with me all these years. The story is fun and original and it definitely has that John Carpenter look, sound and feel to it. I love the way this gritty, post-apocalyptic movie was shot and the cool synthesizer music that goes along with it. Kurt Russell plays Snake Plissken to perfection and even though there was only one sequel that featured this character, he ended up becoming a cult icon and has even had a number of action figures and collectibles created over the years. Snake Plissken is by far Kurt Russell’s coolest character that he has ever played! There’s also some memorable dialogue from Snake Plissken that can easily be looked up on the internet. As far as the rest of the cast goes, it’s an all-star who’s who in this Carpenter helmed cult classic. The movie possess some cool action scenes and some pretty neat special effects for its time.

The packaging comes with a slipcover. The front features some all-new artwork by artist Paul Shipper that you see up top and the back includes movie details, some images and impressive list of extras. The reverse sleeve also features some original artwork and credits. Inserting each disc, the menu screens were simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this 2K high-definition upgrade were both crisp and clear. Escape from New York looks like a brand new movie with this high-def upgrade!

Bottom line is, Escape from New York was a blast from the past to revisit and Scream Factory hit this one out of the park! Sure, there have already been a Collector’s Edition DVD released back in 2003 and a Blu-ray release in 2010 but this here is easily the best of them all. This is a cult classic that is a high-octane action thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to its exciting end. This 2-disc Blu-ray set is really something special, it releases on April 21st and is an absolute must have.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 98 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) Region A

Blu-ray Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 / 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: Home Run! There’s over 2 hours of extras included in this 2-disc set. Some of the extras are from previous releases while a lot of the others are brand new.  There’s a lot of commentary from the cast and crew  included with this release. It’s really awesome listening to John Carpenter and Kurt Russell talk about this movie as it plays along. You can tell they had a great time! There’s a number of featurettes that include everything from revisiting the location, to the visual effects, to the music and even the photography. There’s also some trailers and and a photo gallery from the movie.

DISC ONE:

  • NEW 2K High Definition scan of the inter-positive, struck from the original negative
  • NEW Audio Commentary with actress Adrienne Barbeau and directory of photography Dean Cundey
  • Audio Commentary with director John Carpenter and actor Kurt Russell
  • Audio Commentary by producer Debra Hill and production designer Joe Alves

DISC TWO:

  • NEW Big Challenges in Little Manhattan: The Visual Effects of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK
  • NEW Scoring the Escape: A Discussion with composer Alan Howarth
  • NEW On Set with John Carpenter: The Images of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK with photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker
  • NEW I Am Taylor: an interview with actor Joe Unger
  • NEW My Night on the Set: an interview with filmmaker David DeCoteau
  • Deleted Scene: The Original Opening Bank Robbery Sequence
  • Return to Escape from New York Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Photo Galleries – Behind-the-Scenes, Posters and Lobby Cards

 


 

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