Snake Plisskin ("I thought you were dead!") is an ex-Special
Forces war hero who is currently serving life imprisonment
in a maximum security penitentiary for robbing the Federal
Reserve Depository. He is offered a complete pardon in exchange
for rescuing the President from New York, where his plane
has crashed. New York is a walled-off prison where gangs and
hardened criminals have made their own hierarchy. To ensure
his co-operation Plisskin is injected with two minute capsules;
if he doesn't return with the President within 22 hours the
capsules will dissolve setting off fatal heat-sensing charges.
The President's location tracker proves to be a false lead,
and Plisskin eventually discovers via a character called "Brain"
that the man has been taken by the Duke of New York, a powerful
and ruthless gang leader. But Snake can be pretty ruthless
himself, let down by the government he fought for he cares
about nothing but his own welfare...
a bonafide long-time admirer of John Carpenter's work this
release would have to be an uncaring straightforward video
transfer for me not to rave about this excellent film. Thankfully,
it's better than that.
Plisskin is a great character, an anti-hero who sneers at
the establishment and whose quiet tones are reminiscent of
Clint Eastwood. The plot, settings and lighting are near faultless,
and it's amazing we have so many big names (Lee Van Cleef,
Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Harry Dean Stanton and
of course Kurt Russell) in a movie budget of only $5 million.
could wax lyrical for pages about this film and other Carpenter
greats, but this review is supposed to be about the DVD release.
There's some good extras, including: two commentaries (Writer/Director
John Carpenter and Actor Kurt Russell, and the other is Producer
Debra Hill and Production Designer Joe Alves). Carpenter himself
is always interesting, entertaining and brutally honest, whereas
Russell obviously enjoyed himself immensely, citing Snake
Plisskin as his favourite acting part. There's the deleted
scene which was to form the original opening of the film.
It's the robbery itself, and although it's an exciting piece
it doesn't really fit in with the rest of the story. A couple
of trailers are accompanied by Snake Bites which is
a series of vignettes from throughout the film. To cap off,
Return to Escape From New York is a behind the scenes
This region 2 release has opted for the single-disc (at least,
I only received one check disc), whereas the region 1 version
has two. I would advise any Carpenter fanatic like myself
to go for the North American region one (if your player can
handle it), because the open-out packaging is lovingly assembled
and there are additional special features, including the first
issue of John Carpenter's Snake Plisskin Chronicles Comic
Book, a gallery recording the making of those chronicles,
three other photo galleries, and liner notes by Carpenter.
Also, although this region 2 release has audio options for
Dolby Digital 5.1 and 5.1 DTS, the region 1 discs look and
sound remarkably more crisp.
having said all that, this is a perfectly fine release for
the casual buyer or those watching on a recommendation. We've
already been subjected to inferior copies of Carpenter's
Assault on Precinct 13 and The Fog, so anyone who
hasn't seen this cult movie yet should do so now, before the
folklore is damaged by another disappointing and frankly pointless