It’s that time of the week again. Throwback Thursday, where ScienceFiction.com takes a look back on the great, and maybe not so great, science fiction of the past.
This week, it’s hard to say if this movie is in the great list or the not-so-great list. It all sort of depends on how much I’ve had to drink, and how much I long for my childhood…. which can be said about most science fiction in the 90s, but probably none more so than ‘Escape from L.A.’.
For those of you who are familiar with the series, you’re probably wondering why I’m glossing over ‘Escape from New York,’ the 1981 one movie that started it all. Well, mostly because it happened before I was born, and I can attach more fond memories to the 1996 ‘Escape from L.A.’ because when you’re a kid, you don’t really care how campy a movie is before you deeply imprint it as a good movie in your mind.
For those who are not so familiar, I’ll explain the premise of the ‘Escape from’ series. Basically, there are cities that are basically no-man’s lands. They are where America now sticks their unwanted. In ‘Escape from New York,’ Manhattan is a prison island. In ‘Escape from L.A., it’s basically the land of misfit toys and poorly disguised Che Gueverra analogues. In both movies, the main character, Snake Plissken infiltrates the areas and does something daring, like save the President, or kill the President’s daughter. Yeah, I’m not joking about that. Throughout the movies, both LA and New York serve as critiques of man’s current obsessions, and Snake has hacked and slashed his way through the foray.
I love ‘Escape from L.A.’ because the distaste for Hollywood is palpable. The shadiest character in the movie is used to sell celebrity star maps and one of the random baddies is the Surgeon General who harvests body parts to keep his patients young and beautiful. No superficial stone is left unturned, especially with the President’s daughter realizing that maybe giving the ultimate weapon to revolutionary Cuervo Jones was a bad idea and tries to go back home to her life of privilege.
But even more than that, it’s an action movie. And when I say action movie, I do mean action movie. From motorcycle chases to surfing a tsunami, there is a very little in this movie that isn’t blowing things up, trying to beat timers, and defeating the baddies. All in all, a good time, and well worth the hour and a half you’d spend watching it even if it’s just to watch Kurt Russell stare people down with his one good eye.