ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, 1981, Avco Embassy, 99 min. Dir. John Carpenter. Kurt Russell delivers one of his most memorable performances as ornery, one-eyed Snake Plissken, a sentenced-to-die anti-hero sent into maximum security prison in a Manhattan of the future to rescue U.S. President Donald Pleasance from villain Isaac Hayes.
ESCAPE FROM LA, 1996, Paramount, 101 min. Snake Plissken returns in a savagely funny satire of political extremism in late 20th-century America. After an earthquake devastates Los Angeles, the city separates from the rest of the country and becomes an island for violent outcasts. Yet in John Carpenter's vision, the warring gangs are hardly more dangerous than a culturally conservative President who exploits his constituents' fear and ignorance to rise to power. The only man who stands above it all is iconoclast Plissken, sent to LA by the President to save the world.