Written by Amanda Pampuro
Enzo Casteralli’s Escape from the Bronx, was retitled Escape 2000 when it was covered by Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). MST3K is the equivalent to feeding a bad movie through auto-tunes. It is a lead-to gold television show that aired 197 episodes throughout the nineties, providing amusing commentary for nearly two-hundred otherwise unwatchable movies.
A few years ago, I tried an experiment and began to watch Manos Hands of Fate. I sat through the long, scenic beginning and fought through the first half an hour before I stopped and switched to the MST3K version. So I tell from you having tried with and without commentary, friends don’t let friends watch movies without robots.
Back to Escape 2000, after all this is a movie review and not an advertisement for Riff Tracks. Let me get on with spoiling the movie for you. As if Enzo Casteralli’s cheap 1982 Bronx Warriors didn’t already look like a rip-off of Escape from New York, Enzo titled the sequel Escape from the Bronx. Just in case you didn’t get the joke. You get it right? And just to avoid repeating the mistakes of plagiarized storyline and lack of plot, Enzo removed both elements from the movie. Escape from the Bronx is an hour and a half of Marco Greggario running toward and away from men in silver suites as they evict people from the Bronx with blow torches. There is also an activist reporter with a shrill voice, a sleazy CEO, and Spielberg-esque panoramas of a gingerbread model of New York.
Filmed in 1984 and set in 2000, Casteralli thought the corporate brand of humanity would go from bad to worse. First, undesirable minorities and gangs would be packed into the Bronx, and then they would be eliminated by “deinfestation squads.” This movie is writhing with ‘80’s cynicism—their suggestion seems to be that their solution to solving civil conflict would be the final solution. While this is a terrible movie, it does bring up some heavy social issues—which of course are made light of by the other voices in the movie theater.
Just in case you get lost, Tom Servo, Mike Nelson and Crooow are there to remind viewers who will and who won’t be leaving the Bronx, and to drop references about Mussolini and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Escape from the Bronx isn’t worth playing in the background while you mow the lawn, and though it’s no Time Chasers, it still makes a highly amusing MST3K episode. Then again, I am as biased as a cult member is towards fruit punch. If I had my way, I would have an MST3K silhouette across the bottom of every movie I watched. Hell, I want their silhouettes across my windshield.