In 2000 a gigantic earthquake reduces Los Angeles to an island. The religious right President interprets the 'quake as a sign from God. LA is expelled from the US and anyone who deviates from Christian coalition precepts gets sent on a one-way trip into exile there.

In 2012 the President's rebellious daughter, Utopia, unexpectedly flees to LA and hands over the control device for the ring of orbital satellites that defend the US to Cuervo Jones, leader of the armies of the Third World and winner of the Che Guevara lookalike contest.

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A special forces team is sent to retrieve the doomsday device and terminate Utopia with extreme prejudice, but fall victim to the Los Angelinos. (Auteurist types looking for Hawksian elements will find one here.) So it's up to one-eyed anti-hero Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) to save the day once more...

Reprising 1981's Escape From New York must have seemed like a good idea on paper; the sort of project that could re-establish the tarnished action credentials of director John Carpenter and star Kurt Russell.

Unfortunately, something went wrong along the way. Escape from LA opens well enough, displaying enough satirical wit to make you think Carpenter is about the reclaim the smart sci-fi throne from Paul Verhoeven. But as soon as Russell reaches the Los Angles shore the film degenerates into a haphazard mish-mash of special effects, action set pieces and largely pointless cameos.

Here and there a moments of wit shines through - a wry comment about the fate of D*sneyworld, a gang of plastic surgery disasters led by Bruce Campbell's Surgeon General of Beverley Hills - but for the most part the formulaic, auto-pilot nature of the enteprise leaves one wishing Carpenter and Russell had said "never again" after Escape From New York.

Reviewed on: 23 Jul 2001
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By-the-numbers remake-cum-sequel to Escape from New York.
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Director: John Carpenter

Writer: John Carpenter, Kurt Russell, Debra Hill

Starring: Kurt Russell, Stacy Keach, Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda, George Corraface, Cliff Robertson, Valeria Golino, Bruce Campbell, Pam Grier, A J Langer, Michelle Forbes

Year: 1996

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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Escape From New York
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