Writer/Director John Carpenter was on a great streak in the late 70's and 80's at the movies. In 1981, he brought us one of his best, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK.
Kurt Russell is bad-ass former good guy Snake Plissken (come on, that's a great name!) who is just about to be delivered onto the island of Manhattan in 1997. The bad news for Snake is that the entire island has been turned into a maximum security prison where good guys go in, but they dont come out.
As the film opens, Air Force One is hijacked by some stereotypical bad guys who decide to crash the plane into NYC with the President aboard.
The President (Donald Pleasance) manages to eject at the last minute in his little PresBubble, but he lands in the middle of the world's biggest prison yard.
Special Forces leader Hauk (the terrific Lee Van Cleef) recruits Snake to drop into Manhattan, grab the President and get back out in 24 hours for a complete pardon.
It's 99 minutes of sheet action movie fun and mayhem.
Ernest Borgnine is a cabby that's still up and running, Harry Dean Stanton is Brain, the guy that can connect you with anything and Issac Hayes is the baddest dude in the Big Apple, The Duke.
Carpenter fills the whole movie with non-stop action, plenty of danger and great one-liners for Russell, who has one of his best roles and makes every minute of it count.
As the 24 hour clock clicks down and finding The President gets tougher, Carpenter just keeps picking up the pace with some clever special effects and great staging.
The concept of the film is brilliant.
The ending defines Snake perfectly and is one of the best final minutes of any film of the 80's.
Snake and company get an A.
Followed 15 years later by a far inferior sequel, 'Escape from L.A" which I barely remember beyond how much I shook my head.....