Escape from L.A. (1996)

Escape from L.A.
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Kurt Russell
Sequel to: Escape from New York
Cast: Kurt Russell, Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Valeria Golino, Stacy Keach, Pam Grier, Bruce Campbell, Georges Corraface, Michelle Forbes, A.J. Langer, Ina Romeo, Peter Jason, Leland Orser
Seen on: 26.5.2016

2013. The future. After an earthquake, Los Angeles was turned into an island, separated from the rest of the USA, and used as a deportation station, not only for illegal immigrants, but also for people who lost their citizenship because they didn’t conform to the ultra-conservative morality enforced by the government. But the President’s own daughter Utopia (A.J. Langer) rebels against him and manages to get stranded in L.A. with a deadly device. Fortunately it’s just then that Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is caught once more and threatened with deportation himself – unless he retrieves both Utopia and the weapon.

Well. Since I wasn’t particularly taken with the first Escape film, it is not surprising that I didn’t love the second one either – a film that is inferior in almost every way to its predecessor.


I like series and serials. I like it when things I like get sequels (sometimes even prequels). It definitely helps when those things are planned and don’t just happen or get decided on after the first thing turned out to be a success when it never ever was considered before. But it is not a prerequisite for it to work, not necessarily. The thing is, though, when you continue a series/serial, you have got to pull off a few things and most of them should be reasonably well done. In the simplest of terms: it should stay true to the first thing in spirit and; the story should be continued (not rewritten) and furthered, revealing more of the world this takes place in; the characters should develop; it should balance out the familiar with fresh ideas. As always, there are exceptions. In fact, series format like sitcoms very successfully make do without most of these things. But serials depend on them.

Escape from L.A. is the second episode in a series that thinks it is the continuation of a serial. Or that at least creates the expectation in the audience for a serial. Which is a very complicated way of saying: while it gives the impression of doing something new with the set-up they created in Escape from New York, what we get, is in fact more of the same and it turns out to be really, really boring. Especially when you already didn’t like the first film.


Snake Plissken is still too cool for school, women are still convenient decoration material and nothing else/more, the plot is basically the same as in the first film… if you were ever looking for the definition of “rehashing”, this is it. But if you do a good thing well again, it’s still pretty good even though the novelty has worn off. Unfortunately, Escape from L.A. doesn’t even manage that much. Instead it’s doing the same shit all over again, only worse.

Despite several excellent cameos, Escape from L.A. is a pretty embarassing attempt at film making. Even though my Carpenter-love is not exactly huge, I did expect better from him.

escapefromla2Summarizing: Nah, leave it. Unless you absolutely loved the first one. But be prepared for disappointment regardless.

4 thoughts on “Escape from L.A. (1996)

  1. I actually found it was a bit more entertaining and less boring than Escape from NY. Definitely not a film I’d watch again or recommend though ;) admittedly, every time I see red nail polish standing around/find one in a bag, I still have to laugh :D

  2. Escape from L.A. definitely is inferior to the first one in almost every way. However, what I loved is how politically different it is. The first one very much seemed to take a right wing-stance, making the people in the “prison” the bad guys, while this time, at least some of them seem more like victims (they are less criminal and rather the “unwanted” of society, as well as those that rebell and/or try to escape from an opressive US-regime). So at least that was interesting…

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