I really enjoyed Big Trouble in Little China when I watched it randomly a month ago. Kurt Russell was a charming reciter of silly one liners, the action was awesome, and the plot rushed along with enough interesting plot points along the way to keep my whiskey soaked brain entertained. Since my initial viewing of that film, I have watched it three more times. My boyfriend and I wanted to branch out into exploring more of Kurt Russell’s filmography and see if he was just as cool in other films as he was in Big Trouble in Little China. We picked Escape from L.A. at random on Netflix, without ever watching the first installment, Escape from New York. We were in the mood for some insane action sequences, questionable plot complications and awesome one liners. Boy did we get it.
Snake Plissken is a famous outlaw in a dystopia America. This dystopia includes a dictator who moved the nation’s capital to Lynchburg, VA. A prison island (located on L.A.) where radicals and misfits are transported to. And holograms. Lots of holograms. Snake is recruited by the dictator (or Forever President as he is called in the movie) to retrieve a black box that was stolen by his daughter. The Forever President wants Snake to enter the L.A. prison island, get the black box back from this wayward daughter, kill her and get back in time for him to get the antidote to a disease he was injected with. Snake navigates this trash L.A. with a revolving cast of characters based on L.A. stereotypes. He meets Pipeline (played by Peter Fonda) who is a surfer thrill seeker, Map to the Stars Eddie (Steve Buscemi) who claims to know everything about the island he is on, the Surgeon General of Beverly Hills (Bruce Campbell) who wants to steal his body parts to graph onto plastic surgery junkies, Cuervo Jones who is the Che Guevera of the rebellion against the Forever President and who stole the black box to use for evil purposes, and Hershe Las Palmas (Pam Grier) who is a foxy transvestite with a penchant for helping Snake out of jams. As he journeys toward his destination, crazy action and incidents ensue that call into question what side he should be fighting for. Should he be on the side of the dictatorship that holds his antidote in their hands? Or should he be on the side of Cuervo Jones who wants to free the world from domination of the Forever President only to become dictator himself? Or should he just look out for himself and to hell with the rest of the world? I guess you can guess just where Snake lands.
This movie rests on the fact that you have a sense of humor. It would not work any other way. As I was researching this movie, I was amazed at just how much of a bomb it was and how much the critics just didn’t understand the point of the film. Apparently nobody understood what satire meant. Having a basketball match determine whether or not you can get in to see a gang leader is ridiculous. Having Snake surf on a massive wave until he is able to jump on a convertible and beat someone up is insane. You need to be able to laugh in order to understand it. If somehow your funny bone was surgically removed (Hopefully not by the Surgeon General of Beverly Hills) then this movie is not for you and it never will be.