Escape From New York Review

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A former war hero turned convict is offered his freedom if he can rescue the President, whose plane has crashed in Manhattan, which is now a giant prison colony. The catch is that if our hero fails to rescue the leader of the free world, he'll be killed - and he doesn't have much time...


John Carpenter's taut slab of low-budget sci-fi has Airforce One crash-landing in New York - now one big jail - and the president (Donald Pleasence) held hostage by criminals. Enter Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), a convicted crim given 22 hours to save the prez.

There's a great supporting cast, cool touches, strong action and a catchy theme, but it's Russell's Plissken that really leaps off the screen, exuding more cool than any ten normal anti-heroes. Snake is a very, very angry man - an embittered war hero who turned to crime to steal what he felt he was owed - but still has time for a raft of one liners and a fine line in controlled violence.

Boasting one of the most iconic characters ever in Plissken, and an effective sci-fi set-up, this is entertainment of the highest order.