Escape from L.A. (1996) — Snake Plissken rocks the west coast

“Funny, I thought you were taller.”

DnaError’s rating: Mad Max in hell.

DnaError’s review: This is one cool movie — in fact, blisteringly dangerous in it’s levels of coolness. Sequel to the cult classic Escape From New YorkEscape from L.A. is just as good, if not better, then its predecessor.

To sum up quickly, the plot states that in the far-flung future of 1998, “the big one” separates L.A. from the rest of the nation. While the country undergoes a deep-down moral cleansing by i’s new President for Life (Cliff Robertson), the island of Los Angeles becomes the deportation center for all of the nation’s immoral, illegal, and degenerate freaks. So little has changed.

However, all is not peaches and cream in the new P.C. America. The President’s uppity daughter Utopia (A. J. Langer) hijacks Air Force 3 and steals a doomsday device which she plans to deliver to cult leader Cuervo Jones (Georges Corraface), who is hanging out in L.A. Understandably disturbed, the government calls upon the infamous Snake Pisskin (Kurt Russel) to get it back.

I don’t want to say a lot more ’cause most of the fun of this movie is seeing all the bizarre cults and sects that pop up in the destroyed L.A. It’s a thing of pure fun to see Kurt Russel in a leather coat running across the wrecked sunset strip dodging fire or escaping from plastic surgery failures in the ruins of the Beverly Hills Hotel or contending with Cult King Bruce Campbell as the deformed Surgeon General.

The visuals of Escape from L.A. are complex and striking, unlike Escape From New York, where it looked like any town. Here, effort was put into making it look like L.A. after a *really* bad day. It shares style with Mad Max and Blade Runner along with a sense of techno-western fun that’s impossible to ignore.

This is a pure, go-for-broke, over-the-top ride wrapped in a clever, often sharply funny plot. The performances are pitch-perfect, with the exception of Cuvero Jones (I’ve seen fruit venders more menacing). Still, it’s fast-paced celluloid action with a brain — and Bruce Campbell.

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