Escape from L.A. (1996)

escape from la poster 1996 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Snake Plissken

Story is too much of a rehash of the first film, effects are so-so

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Escape from L.A.

Studio:  Paramount Pictures

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  August 9, 1996

MPAA Rating:  R


Gunning for you!!!

The President (Cliff Robertson) has a new weapon.  A satellite that can send an electro-magnetic pulse and shut down nations.  When his daughter Utopia (A.J. Langer) steals the trigger to the device and flees to the island prison of L.A., the government is forced to turn once again to Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell).  Infiltrating the island, Plissken must locate Utopia but discovers she has powerful allies.  With the help of a “Map to the Stars” conman named Eddie (Steve Buscemi) and a transsexual named Hershe Las Palmas (Pam Grier), Plissken must get the device back to save his life…and escape from L.A.


Hey bro…how’s it hanging?

Directed by John Carpenter, Escape from L.A. is the sequel to the cult film Escape from New York.  The film was met with so-so reviews and became a box office bomb.  The failure ended attempts to have a second sequel but has since gained cult status like the first film.

Snake Plissken is back…and forced to work for the government…again.  The problem with this movie if you see Escape from New York, you’ve seen this movie.  The pull still is Kurt Russell and his portrayal of Snake Plissken which makes this movie fun.


I’m glad to see that Escape from L.A. makes Gidget look good…

Escape from L.A. (for the most part) looks better than Escape from New York.  Escape from New York was a very, very low budget film and it appears that this film has a bigger budget, but also benefits from advances in cheap special effects.  For every good effect, however, there is a bad effect (like Snake’s surf session with Peter Fonda).

What Escape from L.A. does get right is Snake.  He’s older and even saltier than the first Escape from New York.  I like how they start to deliver a backstory for the character (a Cleveland escape is mentioned), and things like comics have dipped into more of Snakes exploits.  Snake is a great character, and it is always fun to see him.


Nothing like a cut-throat game of basketball…

Even more so than the first film, the movie’s format is almost like an Odyssey-like adventure where the main character (Snake) wanders through the destitute land meeting oddities and having adventures.  In this adventure, you meet the wayward surfer Pipeline (Peter Fonda), a rescued damsel named Taslima (Valeria Golino) who is menaced by the Surgeon General of Beverly Hills (Bruce Campbell) who leads a group obsessed with plastic surgery, the man who knows it all Map to the Stars Eddie (Steve Buscemi), and a former ally in the transexual Hershe Las Palmas (Pam Grier).  It took what was good about Escape from New York and ran with it in that department.  I also love Cuervo Jones (Georges Corraface) who rules L.A. (with a basketball court).

I think I actually saw Escape from L.A. before Escape from New York (I do remember I saw them around the same time).  The bottom line is that both movies are essentially the same.  The movies are both fun, and Escape from L.A. is a more modern looking version with a bit of a polished Snake Plissken.  A TV series and movie failed to develop from this film, but there has already been talk of an Escape from New York remake so Snake may live again.

Related Links:

Escape from New York (1981)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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