Escape from New York

Escape from New York ★★★★½

Always in contention with Halloween (1978) as my favorite Carpenter. Heady post-apoc action rivaling They Live (1988) as the filmmaker's most imaginative. Like the condemned within Manhattan's walls, authority only use Kurt Russell's Plissken when convenient before the nonconformist reverts to dirty secret. His anti-hero never betrays distrust of the crumbling monarchs, leading to one of the greatest fuck yous in all of cinema.

A dream was accomplished in Lee Van Cleef; the only man bad enough to match brawn with the pilot of the Gullfire over Leningrad. Everyone else is perfect as well; arguably the best assembled under Carpenter. His score is fantastic—be it elusive as Snake twists through the city's dangerous interiors or charging while Isaac Hayes's caddy chandeliers swing. The fight with Ox Baker feels like an unnecessary break, but the sprint to "freedom" outside the island makes up. Watched via Shout Factory's 4K UHD.

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