When you really think about it, there are not many films that truly live up to their cult status. The Rocky Horror Picture Show comes to mind as one that does. Phantom of the Paradise. Suspiria. But this week see’s the release of a brand new Blu-ray special edition of one of the most beloved cult films of all time, John Carpenter’s Escape from New York.
In the uncertain future, the entire island of Manhattan has been walled in and converted into a maximum security prison where the worst of the worst are free to roam the streets in their own contained city. But when the US President’s (Donald Pleasence) plane crash lands right in the centre of the city, the government must find a way to get him back alive before he falls into the wrong hands. Enter notorious outlaw and former Special Forces war hero Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), the only man good enough to get into Manhattan and back out with the President intact. But with only 24 hours to succeed and an explosive device implanted in his neck if he fails, Snake must face his greatest challenge ever to save the leader of the free world.
Okay, let’s start with the good stuff. Kurt Russell is amazing here. He is all amped up super human hero of biblical proportions with more attitude than anyone could possibly handle. It is a defining role in Russell’s career and one that really drew attention to him and helped make him a star. This new Blu-ray collector’s edition also boasts a new 2K high definition remaster that seriously kicks the ass of any previous edition of this film to date. You also get a new audio commentary and two older ones, FIVE new documentaries on the making of the film including one of the visual effects, a deleted scene and some great vintage trailers and extras. This is one packed special edition sure to make the most devoted fan giddy.
But now on to the bad stuff. Escape from New York will always be loved by its fans and rightfully so, nostalgia is a powerful thing. And while I dug Escape from New York as a kid, I was very curious to check out the film now as I hadn’t seen it in a very long time. That’s where the bad news comes in for me. It just didn’t hold up well at all. For a film that is remembered as an action classic, not only is there not much action but the action that is there is pretty lame, even by 1981 standards. I just found myself bored through many of the scenes and really wondering when it was going to amp up as my mind had remembered it. But it never really happened. There, I got it out there. But still, if you are a devoted fan of Escape from New York, by all means pick up this Collector’s Edition, it is well worth every penny with the plethora of special features and the spectacular transfer.