Raist & Cain Talk: Escape From New York

Ya know, sometimes don’t go the way you plan. Like, we had this plan for these reviews to be fun and kind of quick, but then life got in the way, and other stuff happened, and here we are.

It’s true what the say. Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.

Now, on my end, I’ve had some ups and downs, but mostly ups, as my re-release of Bunnypocalypse: Dead Reckoning is now solidly on track for the 21st, just about a week away now. That ended up taking a lot of work, and is all stuff we’ll get into in another post, at a later time, cause right now, I want to get back to what we were doing originally, which was talking movies with my good pal Raist.

You can also check us out discussing Big Trouble in Little China over at his site by clicking here.

Without further doodledo, here we go, discussing the classic 80’s film, Escape From New York! Kicking things off is Raistlin.

Give him a round of applause. He’s Hollish.

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How I imagine all non Americans…

Raist: Well, I have lost count of the number of times I have seen this film. How about you?

Cain: Man, I lost count years ago. I’ve seen this movie so many times it’s crazy. Then I watch it again, and there’s like ten things I forgot about.

Raist: Ha, so I guess I’m not the only one who has that problem, I though it was just me and old age.

Cain: Well, I’m not one to tell you that isn’t true. I ain’t no spring chicken myself.

Raist: Could you tell our audience who may or may not have heard about this film what this movie is about?

Cain: Oh, boy. Okay then. Here we go.

This movie is set in the far off future of 1997. Yeah, I know, just roll with it. The 80’s were a different time. In this dark and terrible future, crime has exploded across the country, forcing the United States to convert Manhattan Island into a maximum security prison. Which is a weird thing to do, as Manhattan is kind of a major part of the American economy.

This movie may make no actual sense. It’s okay. The 80’s didn’t make sense in general.

Escape from New York: Six Reasons Why | Milwaukee Film
Totally logical

Raist: They didn’t? I always thought they did: I mean, the best cartoons, the best music, the best snacks….how does that not make sense?

Cain: Rememeber the hair? The shoulder pads? The parachute pants? Need I go on?

Anyway! Everything is going fine, until some rebels that oppose the tyrannical American government crash the President’s plane into Manhattan prison. With no way to go in and get him, as the prisoners will kill him if the police try, they have no choice but to entrust his rescue to former special forces solider turned mercenary and criminal, Solid Snake!

Raist: Who???

Cain: Wait. No. That’s wrong. Snake Plisskin! Yeah that was it.

And actually they put a bomb in him, so really he’s part of the Suicide Squad, which is kind of cool, but there’s no Harley Quinn, which is kind of bad, though this movie does have Adrienne Barbeau, so… it all works out, I guess?

I may have wandered off topic.

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Ooh… electro shock… I feel much better now!

Raist: Naw…I do that all the time: it’s called engaging the audience!

Cain: Is that we’re calling it? Sweet! I do that shit all the time, then!

Raist: Let’s get one of the most obvious questions out of the way first, and yeah I feel dumb for asking this as I already know the answer anyways, but well…did you like this film?

Cain: Duh. I love this movie. It’s not the best example of Carpenters work as a director, or Russell as an actor, yet there’s this sort of campy charm to it that makes the batshit crazy plot work. It’s brilliant, and kind of subversive in how it mocks action films while being an action film. It’s just weird, and great.

Raist: Hey I told you I felt dumb about asking this question. Well..glad to see we are still on the same page though!

Cain: When are we not? I swear, we share a brain. Which is awesome! Unless you actually think the same kind of weird shit I do, then maybe it’s just mildly terrifying.

Raist: So Kurt plays this guy called Snake Plissken…what’s he like?

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Uh… this?

Cain: Solid Snake. He’s Solid Snake from the Metal Gear games. Like, literally, Solid Snake was based on Snake Plissken, so that’s what he’s like.

Raist: I was playing with you earlier…of course I know who Solid Snake is. Out audience might not though…trust us: He’s cool, and how can he not be, he’s based on…actually, you were talking Cain…continue !

Cain: I think literally everyone knows who Solid Snake is. But never mind that, cause we aren’t actually talking about that guy. We’re talking about his way cooler Dad!

I mean, technically, that’s true, so…

Okay! He’s this gruff, cool, badass that has no shits to give and takes none, either. He’s the pure distillation of every 80’s action hero ever. The guy is basically an archetype with no real character given to him, and that’s kind of the point, and it works amazingly well. He’s just a strong, silent, scowling presence.

Raist: Well, I have always thought of this being a very cool character, but well are there any traits or things you hate about him?

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Be honest

Cain: Nope. To be honest, I like that Snake is written and performed the way he is. He is the 80’s action hero. I mean, he’s basically all of them, rolled into one. Carpenter has always had a flair for the satirical, and while this movie is absolutely played straight, the undertones of satirizing the 80’s action genre are heavy, and so well handled through Russell’s grumbly portrayal. It’s brilliant.

Raist: Well, as I wanted to ask myself this question too, I’m going along with you. I can’t think of any things I hate about him either. Jeezzz….we don’t have any different opinions on this one do we?

Cain: Shared brain! Which reminds me, I’m trying to write three book series all at once, so if you could pitch in your brain half, that’d be great.

Raist: You do know I already share a brain with Fistandantilus right? I mean..you can have his brain but don’t know if that will do you much good

Cain: Not touching that one, buddy. Mostly case it’s icky, but also cause my brain is enough to handle. I don’t need anything else.

Raist: Speaking of characters, there are quite a number of others in there. Any favorites, or non favorites?

WayBackWednesday - Escape from New York (1981) | Fangirlish
Safe space to speak your mind

Cain: There is a hell of a cast here, actually, and I think it often gets forgotten as most of the focus is really on Snake. Ernest Borgnine, famous for Airwolf, but a well known dramatic actor for many years, (Flight of the Phoenix, anybody?) is somewhat underused, but adds a bit of fun and comedy to the film. Great actor Lee Van Cleef gets to be the tough guy Commissioner. Issac Hayes is horribly underused as the central villain of the story, I think. I mean, he’s certainly proven himself in the years since to be a great actor, so how little he gets to do here is a shame.

Raist: Yeah, Borgnine was most definitely underused, especially for an actor of his caliber. Always felt that a bit hard to believe honestly, and felt that Carpenter could have done a little bit more with him.

Cain: I think he was mostly there for the fun of being there, but yeah, Carpenter could have done way more with him. That aside, more interesting is acting legend Harry Dean Stanton, an old friend and or enemy of Snake. It’s great to see Stanton is his prime again, and really just being the amazing actor he was. Most of the younger folks will know him as the security guard that finds Banner after Hulk falls through a warehouse in the first Avengers movie. The “You got a condition.” guy.

I could go on forever about Adrienne Barbeau, who is such a great actor, and an absolute legend of film. She’s tough as nails in this movie, too. A straight up badass that even Snake thinks twice about crossing. Loved her.

Raist: And did you know she has been married to John Carpenter?

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Wash the damn dishes, John!

Cain: I did know that! Lucky bastard that Carpenter is.

If I didn’t love him, I’d hate him.

But you know what? Let’s talk about Frank Doubleday, who plays Romero, Issac Hayes character right hand man. This guy literally steals the movie and just dominates every scene he’s in. Even Kurt Russell said the guy set the whole tone for the film, and was just an absolutely amazing presence. This movie would not be what it is without him.

Oh, and let’s not forget that Jamie Lee Curtis narrates the opening. Yeah. Crazy.

Raist: Okay, now THAT’S something that I didn’t know about. Interesting! You learn something new every day!

Cain: Honestly, I’d forgotten it completely. One of those little details that slips the mind, which this movie is full of.

Raist: It’s crazy to think this film dates back so many years. How do you feel it holds up today?

Cain: Oh, it’s campy as hell now. I mean, think of the scene where Snake shoots up that wall and dives through. Wow. That was underwhelming. The special effects are corny as all get out. The guns are way too loud, and most of the movie is just plain goofy.

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The 80’s in a nutshell

Raist: haha…so true: that scene I was thinking like: wow, wonder how much that wall cost!

Cain: Exactly. There’s so much in this movie that you kind of look at it and go, what the hell? And that doesn’t matter at all. Like, for real. It does not matter. As soon as you start watching this movie, you are right back to being a kid, and it is like all your favorite Saturday morning cartoons come to life. It’s just got this charm to it, that you completely ignore how dated it is, how absurd it is, and you go with it. You just accept it, and love every minute. That’s special, man.

Raist: Do you have any favorite scenes in this movie (Hell I can think of a couple I like lol).

Cain: Well, not gonna lie, every scene with Adrienne Barbeau was pretty special to me, for two reasons. Her talent and her commitment to the role.

I know what two reason you perverts were thinking. Shame on you.

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What were we talking about?

Raist: No idea what you are talking about Cain…really….no idea. Why is everyone all of a sudden red faced?

Cain: We can see all of you, so, yeah. But never mind that, cause we’re talking about this movie, not you guys and your weird hangups.

Honestly, the whole set up to sending Snake in is just great. I love that part of the movie. Watching Russell and Van Cleef work off each other is amazing. It’s one of my favorite parts of the whole movie.

I would also have to single out right at the end as Snake walks away, shredding that all important cassette tape, leaving the President screwed, is probably the high point of the movie. It captures Snake better than anything else in the whole film, and really does end things on the right note. I love that part.

Raist: Yeah the ending was terrific. I remember when I first saw it I had that stupid grin on my face thinking: Oh yeah, this is a character that I want to see more of!

Cain: Which we got! I think. Didn’t we? Maybe. Let’s say that all those Metal Gear games were us getting more.

Raist: Obviously we both love this film, but are there things you didn’t like, or maybe even scenes that you would have changed?

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No pressure

Cain: Honestly, there’s nothing that I didn’t like, but I would have liked to see Hayes get to do a little more, have more lines, and really sell the character of the Duke. Outside of that, though, no. It’s classic for a reason, and that’s because it’s just so great the way it is. Even when it’s campy, or silly, or the scenes don’t really work, that’s part of what makes it great.

Raist: True enough, let’s hope we never get a remake for this one, because really that would suck!

Cain: I really don’t think anyone would dare. That’d be like doing a remake of Back to the Future, or Star Wars. Who the hell would ever have the nerve to try and remake stuff like that?

Raist: People with no brains? Or aliens from outer space that hate our guts?

Cain: Worse. Hollywood producers.

Raist: There’s a sequel to this film Escape from LA. While I saw it many years ago, I don’t remember much about it honestly. I have seen it maybe one or two times crazy enough. I do know I enjoyed it too, but what are your thoughts on that one?

Yeah, that sums it up.

Cain: Forshadowing pays off! I’ve seen it. I remember seeing it. I’ve seen it once. My wife and I rented that and Solider for a fun night of Kurt Russell kicking ass fun, but to be totally honest, I do not remember a damn thing about it now. We watched it first, and Soldier just left it in the dust. I really need to watch it again, cause I’m sure it was fun, but I do not remember a single thing about it.

Do not watch Escape From L.A. before you watch Solider. Watch them very separately. Russell has a lot of range as an actor, and his role in Solider dwarfs most anything I’ve seen him do.

Raist: I feel we have a new movie to watch for a future post! Honestly I can’t remember much about Escape From L.A. either. Only something about Snake riding a surfboard on a wave…but that’s it. As for Soldier? Awesome flick! Another one I definitely need to rewatch at some point.

Cain: That’s my first pick for when we do sci fi, just so you know. It’s one of my favorite sci fi movies ever.

Raist: So…what if there would be another sequel, you being a writer and all, any ideas for that one?

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Prequel time!

Cain: Oh, God. Okay. Lemme think here. Wow. As a writer (published, thank you, two fantasy novels) I would have to say a third film would be fun, if not sensible. Snake is a character that works better the less you see him.

Still, if I was going to tackle it, I’d definitely go Chicago. Escape From Chicago. We’ve been to both coasts, time to go to the central U.S.

I don’t recall who he was saving in Escape From L.A. but I’d think to drag him back into action again, it’d have to be something huge. Maybe not even a rescue this time. Maybe just have them finally throw Snake in jail and follow him as he concocts an escape plan and succeeds.

That’s literally just me spit balling off the top of my head. I’ll have to think about that one.

Raist: Chicago certainly sounds like a cool setting for a third part. We could also have Snake go international. Escape from Russia would be interesting…especially considering the 80’s era. Eh…probably why I’m not a writer though

Cain: I dunno, man, that would acually be interesting now that you’ve said it. Snake going toe to toe with 80’s style KGB agents and Russian soldiers, maybe even their version of a Snake would be a good villain.

Raist: Wonder what they would call him then? Cold Snake? KGB Snake? Eh…best not go there

Cain: Liquid Snake, obviously. How else can we work in diarrhea jokes?

Raist: Well…I think we have bored our audience quite enough so…any final thoughts you want to share on this movie?

Cain: Go watch it. Enjoy the lunacy of the premise and have fun. This movie is a classic for a reason. It’s the 80’s, at it’s purest. This is literally the quintessential 80’s action movie. You will not see another movie from that era that captures that era’s action movies the way this one does.

Raist: Amen to that!

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The 80’s folks!

20 thoughts on “Raist & Cain Talk: Escape From New York

  1. I love this film for all the reasons you outline in your conversation. Some might say the special effects are a little ropey but I don’t care, especially when the cast is chock full of great actors. Oh and Kurt Russell is the epitome of cool here. “Call me Snake.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s literally the appeal of the film. As soon as you start watching, you straight don’t care about modern CGI, or any of that. You’re just there, having fun, enjoyed the movie, and the characters, and having a blast. It’s a special kind of magic.


    2. What Cain said😀 This is such a fun film, and sure the effects might be a little ropey, but it doesn’t detract from the appeal of the film in any way. It’s loads of fun, and still highly enjoyable to see in this modern age😀😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great choice chaps! Loved Russell in this. Only got to see Soldier 2 weeks ago (as Raistlin knows having read my wonderful review 🤣 )so that’s well fresh in my mind, bloody brilliant. Must rewatch Escape again, it’s been too long. I know I watched the L.A one but I can’t remember it much either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Solider is certainly on the list of movies he and I are going to watch. It’s one of my favorite Russell films. While Escape From New York is an absolute classic, the sequel I think just failed to capture the same satirical sense of action films in general. Maybe it was too late to tap into that 80’s vibe, or maybe it is was a victim of being made simply to be made. I don’t really know, but it was sadly a completely forgettable movie. I’ll have to watch again at some point to try and figure out what went wrong with it.

      Whatever it was, this one was the perfect 80’s action movie in every way, and one I love revisiting every couple of years.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. You were so right: it was a wonderful review! 😂😂
      I have seen Soldier, but it’s been a long while. Good thing is, as Cain said, it’s one of the films we are eventually going to watch, so we’ll get to that one again eventually.
      As for LA…it’s a film I think I’ve seen only once, and I can’t remember it. There was this scene with a surfboard, and something with basketball, but that’s about it.
      This one though…so cool! Gotta love it😀😀
      You know….you could do a double feature this weekend Fraggle? Since you are already watching Big Trouble, you could add this one as well !😀😀

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Sorry, Raist, have to vote 90s > 80s. They even had Dunkaroos, and they were so good and they finally brought them back this summer and I still can’t find them, whhhyyyyyy.

    *ahem* Sorry about that. 2020 is really getting to me.

    I didn’t know Solid Snake was based on this movie, but I can really see the resemblance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have conflicting feelings about the 90’s. I became an adult in the 90’s, so it was a golden point in my life, but everything became XTREME! and that was horrible. So much neon green everywhere.

      I think 2020 is getting to us all.

      Yeah, the whole Solid Snake thing is crazy when you really learn about it. Hideo Kojima is a huge Carpenter fan, and almost everything he does in video games is in some way inspired by or influenced by Carpenters work. Even when he gets satirical, it often references Carpenter in some way. Basically, he’s one of the biggest fan boys out there, but he turned it into this career that has gone on to influence and inspire others. There’s something really beautiful about that.

      Kurt Russell. It’s Kurt Russell that’s the beauty. I mean, even now, his hair is just so L’Oreal.

      What? I’m not that straight..

      Liked by 1 person

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