Escape from L.A. is John Carpenter's latest effort, starring Kurt Russell in a post-apocalyptic America. When a presidential candidate forecasts that the city of Sodom and Gomorrah will be separated from the rest of the U.S. by an earthquake in the year 2000, and turns out to be right, he is immediately elected. As one of his first duties, he makes the island of Los Angeles a deportation zone for anyone who violates the moral order of the United States. Abortion doctors, teenage mothers, atheists, prostitutes, and other undesirables all get deported to L.A., which has become a literal hell on earth.
In the year 2013, Snake Plissken (Russell) is finally captured and is given a chance to make a deal. Retrieve a weapon that could literally end life on earth as we know it, which has ended up in L.A., thanks for the President's daughter Utopia (A.J. Langer). With a bit of coercion, Plissken agrees to do the job and infiltrates L.A. in style.
The best aspect of the movie is that it doesn't take itself seriously, and every action cliche is exploited to the hilt, making for some hilarious moments. Plissken's cowboy-like character should easily appeal to fans of both wild west and sci-fi action flicks. The creation of L.A. in ruins is done to extreme detail, and gets surreal at times (particularly the underwater visions of concrete ramps and limp highway signs). There appears to be a problem with film sequence editing at times, but it lends all the more urgency to Plissken's countdown. The music in the movie complements the action well, from the melodic electronic noise of the surf rock, all of which are executed at appropriate action sequences. Best of all, the ending doesn't disappoint.
There's a lot of sardonic political commentary about the current and future state of America here. Besides the surgical failures, the self-serving Presidents for life, and the no smoking, no swearing, and no re meat" regulations, the most striking observation is the one where L.A. is actually regarded as being more free than the mainland.
I have always admired John Carpenter's work (I actually enjoyed Village of the Damned, for example) for his self-indulgence. I highly recommend seeing this movie, especially if you like a no-holds-barred approach to action flicks. Keep an eye out for Snake Plissken's Escape from Earth coming up next!