After watching James Gunn’s the incredible Guardians of the Galaxy this weekend and having the pleasure of seeing Kurt Russell on the big screen, I decided to look back at one of Russell’s most iconic roles. That would be none other the anti-hero himself, Snake Plissken. Russell graced the screen in this character for two films. The orginal, Escape from New York, and its sequel, Escape from LA. John Caprenter finished the script for Escape from New York in 1976 and was inspired by the Watergate scandal and the novel, “Planet of the Damned.” After his huge success with Halloween, the studio threw money at him to make the dystopian film. This film was a success as well making $25 million with a mere $6 million budget.
Russell was a great pick to play the anti-hero protagonist although he wasn’t the first choice. Talent such as Tommy Lee Jones, Clint Eastwood, and Jeff Bridges were all approached to play the tough guy but Russell, thankfully, ended up the man behind the eyepatch. His performance and the “fuck you and rules” atttitude is stellar. He comes off unassuming as not the average towering muscle bound action hero and dosen’t give a shit about anything but himself. Honestly, you’d really have no reason to root for the guy if it wasn’t his anti-establishment mental state! I believe it was the mix of his attitude and his “every day joe” body type that the audience connected with. Similiar to John McClane and the Die Hard franchise.
There are many different opinions on which film is the better of two. Personally, I prefer Escape from New York for its darker tone and better production value. The villian is scaryier (not as scary as his main goon, Romero, played perfectly by Frank Doubleday), the supporting cast is fantastic, and the overall threat to Snake is bigger. The talented and beautiful Adrienne Barbeau deserves her own acknowledgement as the tough as nails Maggie. The LA version is an action/adventure movie that comes off just a little too cartoony but is entertaining nonetheless. I can’t help but notice how everything set outside looks like what it is, a movie set. It takes me out of the movie at times. The stand out scene involves a prosthetic covered, and almost unrecognizable, Bruce Campbell as the head plastic surgeon of a beautiful and propheticly demented operating room. If only this scene was longer because Bruce Campbell always makes everything better! Maybe we can petition for a spinoff? 🙂
Which movie do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section or as Snake would probably say…
“I don’t give a fuck about your movie, or your comments section.”