Written by Amanda Pampuro
Lately when I’m listening to the news or thinking about topics of political importance like immigrant reform and the mounting national debt, all I can t
hink is: we need Plissken.
In Escape from New York, Snake Plissken was blackmailed into rescuing an incompetent and bourgeois president from the prison he designed and putting him back on his throne. In the sequel, Snake is pulled from his ex-pat abode in Thailand and forced into finding the president’s daughter in yet another prison city LA.
Besides the human heist and hang gliders, the true conflict in this story is Plissken’s being forced into serving a society he detests. Plissken wants nothing to do with his country’s world take-over or its moral martial law. But he would let it be, if it would let him be—which I suppose is the lesson of this story: as long as there are prisons, you will be a prisoner.
Already once imprisoned and promised his freedom, Plissken is going to stop at nothing to complete his mission, which includes saving his own life, and then ensure that there is no government in place to catch him a third time. In not so many words, Snake says shame me once, shame on you, shame me twice, I’m shutting off all the power.
But this is speculation of course—Snake never says anything about his intentions or plans post-LA, he is a man of action, speaking only to correct his name and deliver a few gems of beauty and wisdom. Set in 2013, but filmed in 1996, this film shows us a world that imprisons individuals based on their religious beliefs and political loyalties, and the powers in place possess the equivalent of a doomsday device. Has an earthquake severed LA from the rest of California? No. Have all are damned been doomed to spend the rest of their life in that city? No, though some people willingly condemn themselves to that fate. How accurately does Escape from LA portray today? That’s up to you.
Escape from LA also features a young Steve Buscemi as the guy who sides with whoever benefits him most, a henchmen asking for it, a long way from Nucky Thompson. This is said to be Kurt Russel’s favorite role, and I have to say it seems that he was built for it.
Skip New York, come to Hollywood, for the mindless violence, robotic entertainment, and valuable life lessons.