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Escape from L.A.: Collector's Edition (1996) - Blu-ray Review

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Escape from L.A.

Because you never know when you are going to need stick matches!

While the earthquake that opens John Carpenters Escape from L.A. and separates the county from the rest of California might be the stuff of fiction, it is NO stretch of the truth to admit that this post-apocalyptic sequel was anything but a massive bomb at the box office.  This $50 million imagining of 2013 was a gamble that never paid off, especially when you take into account that the original film, Escape from New York, cost a mere $6 million and the production looks exactly the same.  

"From beginning to end, this sequel keeps its solid footing on pulpy action thanks to its biting humor and its post-apocalyptic commentary"


But there’s good news here because, thanks to Scream Factory, John Carpenter's Escape from L.A. gets new life breathed into its unfairly criticized bones and the results prove that this post-apocalyptic bomb was not the total wipeout we feared.  The passing of time has been damn good to this wild west-like tale concerning the unseating of Cuervo Jones (Georges Corraface) from his throne among the heathens and undesirables in Los Angeles County.

The science fiction flick, featuring Kurt Russell (who also co-wrote with Carpenter and Debra Hill) returning as everyone’s favorite anti-hero, Snake Plissken, is set 16 years after the original film, but Plissken is still the pissed off, “just passing through” type who is sent into Los Angeles Island to recover the president's daughter, Utopia (A.J. Langer, My So-Called Life), and the "Sword of Damocles" super weapon.  

Of course, like the original film, he’s doing this rescue mission against his will.  This time he is brought into the military zone and immediately poisoned by a man-made Plutoxin 7 virus by the President for Life (Cliff Robertson) and Commander Malloy (Stacy Keach).  He has 10 hours to live and bring back the black box.  Only then will he get the cure.

But this mission into the land of red meat, smoking, and pre-marital sex is not going to be easy.  There are tons of characters, all plotting to either aid or injure Plissken as he travels from Malibu to Anaheim in search of all things centered around Cuervo Jones.Escape from L.A.

Featuring memorable performances from Steve Buscemi, Valeria Golino, Bruce Campbell, Peter Fonda, and Pam Grier as Carjack Malone, Escape from L.A. definitely packs its fair share of b-grade western punches as Plissken traverses a lawless land of plastic surgery failures, tweaked-out surfing enthusiasts, and figures out how to once again survive politicians with the help of personal hologram projectors, deadly satellites, and lots and lots of bullets. 

Escape from L.A. is ridiculous, campy fun.  Hop on and surf the tsunami, too!  From beginning to end, this sequel keeps its solid footing on pulpy action thanks to its biting humor and its post-apocalyptic commentary.

4/5 stars

Escape from L.A.

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Collector's Edition

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- August 20, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Snake is back! Kurt Russell rejoins filmmakers John Carpenter and Debra Hill to do to Los Angeles what they did to the Big Apple in Escape From New York – with even more futuristic thrills and big action!  Into the 9.6-quaked Los Angeles of 2013 comes Snake Plissken (Russell). His job: wade through L.A.'s ruined landmarks to retrieve a doomsday device. Don't miss the excitement as Snake surfs Wilshire Blvd., shoots hoops at the Coliseum, dive bombs the Happy Kingdom theme park, and mixes it up with a wild assortment of friends and foes including Stacy Keach, Steve Buscemi, Bruce Campbell, Peter Fonda, George Corraface, Cliff Robertson and Pam Grier

Video:

The NEW 4K film scan from the original 35mm negative is solid with engaging colors and black levels.  Shadows are well-defined and lines hold their edges well.  While a few scenes of early CGI are a bit dusty, the new transfer pops to the colors and to the post-apocalyptic world are rippled with fine details and crisp colors.  Framed in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the cinematic scope of this sequel is intact and so too are the crisp and countless explosions as Snake hops from Beverly Hills  to basketball courts, sewer systems and beyond!

Audio:

Two good lossless tracks, a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track are provided.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Unfortunately, there is no commentary from anyone associated with this film.

Special Features:

Complete with a 4K scan from the original negative, the supplemental items include interviews with Stacy Keach, Bruce Campbell, Peter Jason, George Corraface, and members of the special effects department.  Slip-covered and newly-minted, this Collector’s Edition is long overdue and much appreciated.

  • NEW A Little Bit Off Beat – An Interview With Actor Stacy Keach
  • NEW Beverly Hills Workshed – An Audio Interview With Actor Bruce Campbell
  • NEW Part of the Family – An Interview With Peter Jason
  • NEW Miss A Shot, Get A Shot – An Interview With George Corraface
  • NEW One Eye Is Better Than None – An Interview With Special Effects Artist Jim McPherson
  • NEW The Renderman – An Interview With Visual Effects Artist David Jones
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

Escape from L.A.

MPAA Rating: R for violence and some language.
Runtime:
101 mins
Director
: John Carpenter
Writer:
John Carpenter  & Debra Hill & Kurt Russell
Cast:
Kurt Russell, Steve Buscemi, Stacy Keach
Genre
: Action | Adventure
Tagline:
Snake is back.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Ha! We thought you might try that, hotshot. That's why the first clip is loaded with blanks. Bye bye, Snake. Good luck!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 9, 1996
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 26, 2020.
Synopsis: Into the 9.6-quaked Los Angeles of 2013 comes Snake Plissken (Russell). His job: wade through L.A.'s ruined landmarks to retrieve a doomsday device. Don't miss the excitement as Snake surfs Wilshire Blvd., shoots hoops at the Coliseum, dive bombs the Happy Kingdom theme park, and mixes it up with a wild assortment of friends and foes including Stacy Keach, Steve Buscemi, Bruce Campbell, Peter Fonda, George Corraface, Cliff Robertson and Pam Grier.

Escape from L.A.

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