Isaacs Picture Conclusions

THE IPC DOUBLE TAKE ~ FEATURING MARKED MOVIES: ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981)

I don’t exactly remember the events surrounding MARKED MOVIES and I planning on doing this, but I imagine it had something to do with my awe of his writing skills (especially his fucking awesome SIT DOWN SERIES) – but I asked him if he would be interested and I told him I’d buy him some shots if I ever run into him in person and we agreed on “Escape” which we both haven’t seen in a long time and here we are!! I don’t know where you’re reading this but if you’re at a place that serves booze, order yourself a round on me and send me the bill to:

THE IPC

6754 IPC WAY

IDONTHAVEANYFUCKINGMONEYAREYOUKIDDING, EI 00007

So – go get your buzz on and if you’re not into that, settle into whatever you like and let’s rock it with:

ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK by THE IPC – FIVE TOP HATS

ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK was one of my favorite movies as a kid. I remember we snuck into the theater after buying tickets to something else and my friend and I were totally blown away by the action in here (and the music) (and Adrienne Barbeau’s whaaaaaaaaaaaaattttts???). I also bought the tape soundtrack (!!) and listened to it over and over and over and over on my walkman as I went to bed. Kurt Russell was a total bad ass as Snake Plissken, you had some crazy dude named Ernest Borgnine in there, some wicked firearms, the guy from Halloween (Donald Pleasance) and, while we were familiar with the opposite sex from sneaking my grandpa’s dirty magazines out to the club house (and late night cable TV like NUDE FOR SATAN) here was the stunning Barbeau in not much more than a slip. WHAT! We also went around saying things like “Call me Snake” in our raspy kid whisper-voices and screaming ‘I’M THE DUKE OF NEW YORK!!!! I’M A-NUMBER ONE!!!!” As a kid I got constant spankings so I only yelled that inside in my mom’s direction (stage direction: pause, slow head turn to audience, speak:) ONCE

Let me do a quick plot summary and then we’ll look at this from our adult eyes. In the faaaaaaaaaar flung future of 1997, crime has gotten so out of hand and America is on the brink of war and New York has been walled in and become a place where every criminal in the U.S. is just dumped, for life. Forever and ever until the day you die, amen brother. Airspace and defending that wall (YOU WANT ME ON THAT WALL!! YOU NEED ME ON THAT WALL!!! {sorry just watched that}) is lead by Lee Van Cleef and – I had forgotten – TOM ATKINS!!! WHOOP!! Anyway, calm down Isaacs… Flying over New York on his way to a summit, the POTUS (Pleasance) is on Air Force One and it’s taken command by a group of militants!! She crashes it into the heart of New York!! The President is dead!! The President is dead!!!!

Or is he? Recently captured super criminal, beard and eyepatch sporting, hissing voice Snake Plissken (Russell) is offerred immunity and an honest expunging for his crimes against god and man if he goes in there and rescues the POTUS. He’s only got a limited amount of time before that summit kicks off and the world goes to war so he better haul some ass. He’s also injected with some sort of high tech electrode that’s going to blow his heart to smithereens if he tries to escape, so fuck that, buddy boy. “Do you understand me, Plissken??” Van Cleef asks. “Call me Snake”, Snake hisses. So he heads into the shithole of New York Prison and gets to work. I would find it hard to even fathom that someone hasn’t seen this, but I won’t spoil things and if you haven’t…………………… ya should.

Call me Snake….

How was that for a “quick” recap? ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK is still awesome to me after all of these years. Plissken is the anti-badass before there were anti-baddasses. The F/X  could probably use some – well – fixing up and all, but this was still wicked fun. Now let me humbly turn this over to my best Scottish amigo – MARK!

~ NOW ~

During my own childhood, I also enjoyed many movies from director John Carpenter but it’s been a long time since I’ve revisited any of them. If truth be told, I kind of avoided them incase they didn’t hold up on reflection and quite frankly, I didn’t want my memory of them to be tarnished. The  reason I’ve revisited this one is because Eric kindly asked me to collaborate on a “double-take”, where we would compare our thoughts on a specific film. This was his choice but I’m glad I took part as this cult classic from my younger years still holds many memorable moments.

As Eric has already given a plot summary, I’ll skip that part and get down to my thoughts…

Straight from the off-set, this film sets the tone with Carpenter’s own foreboding music score, luring you into an anarchy ridden, post-apocalyptic New York. Like all of Carpenter’s works during the 70’s and 80’s, the concept is sheer brilliance. There are very few directors these days that have the vision or originality that this man had. Unfortunately, Carpenter can’t seem to hit the same heights these days but he was way ahead of his game around this time and this film stands as one of his most recognised and has a fervent cult following. Like a lot of cult movies though, it has it’s flaws; the settings are basic and it has the old flashing computers with an abundance of lightbulbs on show but it’s testament to Carpenter’s vision that his concept overrides these dated faults and the film still manages to remain suitably futuristic. Granted, in some cases it can come across as amateurish – even self-conscious – but good sci-fi primarily works on its idea’s and Carpenter certainly applies the idea well here. This is a film that confidently relies on it’s premise and it works an absolute treat. It is also helps that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and has it’s tongue stuck firmly in it’s cheek. That’s thanks in large to Kurt Russell, who delivers a string of great one-liners in a memorable and iconic central performance as Snake Plissken – one of cinema’s finest anti-heroes. Unfortunately, the film does succumb to some formulaic action material but it’s credit to Carpenter’s pacing and Russell’s wisecracks for keeping the films head above ground. Despite it’s style and substance becoming a casualty to the action, it’s still a lot of fun, regardless of it’s occasional wandering.

A great sci-fi cautionary tale that a contemporary audience can still identify with. It can also proudly take it’s place amongst the great B-movies and cult classics of our time and lasting proof, that John Carpenter was one of the finest directors working during the 1970’s & 80’s.

To use Eric’s rating system, I’ll give it Four Top Hats. Or alternatively, I’ll give two big pairs of Adrianne Barbeau’s “Whaaaaaatttss!”

Cheers Eric, now get the drinks in.

~

THANKS AGAIN MARK FOR DOING THIS! THIS HAS BEEN A FANTASTIC ONE – TWO COUPLE OF PIECES WE’VE DONE!! I DO HOPE WE GET TO DO ANOTHER!! (damn that we can’t find that one we were talking about….!) LET’S WORK TOGETHER AGAIN SOON!!

44 comments

  1. Looks great man. I’m happy to have been involved again and it was great revisiting this afterso many years. Sad to say, I can’t seem to get a hold of that other film we were going to do but I’m sure we can come up with something else instead.

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  2. Pingback: Escape From New York « MARKED MOVIES

  3. Great review guys! I’ve been a big fan of EFNY since I first saw it back in day and often find myself revisiting it. And you’re right – the sequel sucks ass in comparison! And speaking of Carpenter’s scores – my fave after EFNY would have to be The Fog, closely followed by the (underrated) Halloween III: Season Of The Witch. And seeing that image of the EFNY board game reminds me – I have it sitting on top of my wardrobe – but have never played it! How’s that for geeky?! – no, actually it’d probably be more geeky if I HAD played it. 🙂

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    • theipc

      OMG you HAVE the game???? That’s one of those urban legend things in my area – like the Holy Grail!! Awesome and THANKS for the comment!!!

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    • I remember first seeing an ad for it on the back cover of the Nov ’81 issue of Fantastic Films Magazine back in the day. It was a completely different (somewhat classy-looking) graphic of Airforce One flying over the wall. The copy of the game I have has the same image on the box as above, so I’m guessing they must have re-released it with this than compelling cover art. Perhaps I should get together with some mates and actually play the thing and report back with the results? If it’s not too ‘off-topic’ I mean. 🙂

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      • I’d love to hear a report back on it Gregory. I’ve never actually heard of anyone who has played it. Like Eric says, it was something of an Urban myth around my neck of the woods. To be honest, I don’t think it was ever released in Scotland or the UK for that matter.

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    • theipc

      Oh MAN!! – The three of us – well wait – the two of us should try and find a copy on ebay or something and we can all three play a virtual game!!!! We can report on our moves and statuses here on the site!!! let me go see how much one of those babies runs for….

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      • Heehee! Thats not a bad idea ye know. Report back with your findings sir. I imagine it’ll cost a small fortune though. Especially for me. I don’t think they were ever released where I am.

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      • theipc

        As you know – I’m in the U.S. so I don’t know about shipping to Scotland… There’s four on there – the cheapest is 30 bucks (used) the others are kind of pricey….

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      • theipc

        Amen on that – let me know what you find out and maybe I can sneak some money out of the XMAS budget : ) – Keep on rockin’ Mark!!

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  4. gregory moss

    Man, that is such a cool idea! A trans-global playing of the ENFY game! UK vs USA vs Oz. As to the actual mechanics of doing it, I’m sure they could be worked out. Keep me posted! 🙂

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