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Five Reasons Why Escape From L.A. is a Bonkers Masterpiece

March 18, 2016

Escape From L.A. movie poster


Escape From L.A. is an insane film that doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It was released in 1996, and was met with indifference and poor box office results. However, time has been kind to it, and in honor of its 20th anniversary I wanted to promote this crazy John Carpenter film. Carpenter knew what he was doing, and he turned up the volume to 11 and let Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) do his thing. The movie is stuffed to the brim with insanity and pretty much follows the same exact plot of Escape From New York. Basically, Snake has to rescue the President’s daughter from L.A. in 10 hours or he will die. What follows is beautifully ridiculous and I love every second of it.

Here are five reasons why Escape From L.A. is an underrated treasure. After you’ve read the post make sure to check out our 50th podcast that is dedicated to Kurt Russell. It is pretty amazing.

1 . There is a Big Trouble in Little China Reunion

Stuart Quan, James Lew, Leo Lee, Gary Toy and Al Leong pop up as Pam Grier’s Henchmen in Escape From L.A. It was awesome seeing the Chang Sing and Wing Kong unite to help Snake Plissken! I bet they felt invincible.

Sidenote: Jack Burton is my favorite action hero. The guy can do no wrong while totally not doing anything right. Check out the post I wrote about his awesomeness!

Big trouble Escape From LA

All the arrows lead to the reunion. I was stoked to see this!

2. Snake Plissken was Fast & Furious before the fast was furious

The craziest scene in Escape From L.A. features Kurt Russell and Peter Fonda surfing a tsunami. The two high-five and eventually Snake steers his surfboard towards the road and effortlessly manages to jump into Steve Buscemi’s convertible. What?!?! I have a feeling that Vin Diesel ripped off these films in the later Fast installments.


3. Snake is a great basketball player

There are a few things I’ve never thought I’d see, and seeing Snake Plissken play basketball is one of them. There is a weird scene that involves a captured Snake being forced to make five baskets or face certain death. When he makes a shot the buzzer starts counting down from 10 seconds, and the poor guy has to run full-court to drain another shot. Snakes pulls off a miracle and becomes the first person to survive the basketball game of death. A cool little fact is that Russell practiced on his downtime to make his shots look authentic. I wonder how many times it took him to nail the full-court shot?


4. Bruce Campbell plays a devilish plastic surgeon 

Did you know that Russell and Campbell have both played Elvis and have the same stunt double? That is a mind blowing fact! I lost it when I saw Bruce Campbell on screen in 1996 because I loved the Evil Dead movies. It was awesome seeing two of my favorite actors together on screen. Of course, they were acting together in a bonkers film that is crazy violent and was initially disliked.


5. Snake lands a hang glider perfectly on the villain

What do you do when you need to find the bad guy? You jump on a hang glider, kill several hundred goons and eventually land on the main villain. What make this scene crazy is how Snake perfectly steers the glider onto the bad guy! Hundreds of people are shooting at him, and he still finds his guy, despite the benefit of both eyes.

Hang Gliding


Escape From L.A. is a crazy little cult classic that won’t appeal to the mainstream but will most certainly satisfy John Carpenter fans.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 15, 2016 9:29 am

    The surfing scene really does seal the deal. Some fans of the first film (myself included) were initially taken aback by the zany tone but the movie really does grow on you with repeat viewings.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      July 24, 2016 12:37 pm

      Very true, it was off-the-cuff zany. But I certainly enjoyed it (original and remake). However, they better not do another remake. haha


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