Escape from New York comes to Warren Oldtown
While the 2015 summer blockbuster movie season has just begun, there's no denying an opportunity to see a prime example of the sci-fi action genre on the big screen. The Warren Theatres' Return of the Cults series rages on with John Carpenter's Escape From New York, featuring Kurt Russell in the iconic role of the eyepatch-wearing mercenary Snake Plissken. His mission is to infiltrate the city of New York, which has been transformed into a maximum security prison with all sorts of hazards, in search of the crash-landed President (Donald Pleasance).
Director and co-writer John Carpenter made his mark on the film industry with his horror-related films Halloween and The Fog, but he cut his teeth previously with the release of the action-thriller Assault on Precinct 13. It was after Precinct that Carpenter came up with the concept of Escape, which was fueled by the Watergate scandal and the depiction of The Big Apple in the Charles Bronson revenge flick Death Wish. Leif Jonker of Wichita Big Screen elaborated more on what fueled Carpenter's creativity.
"John Carpenter has said many times he wanted to be a filmmaker to direct Westerns," Jonker said, "But by the time he actually got into the business the western was dead, though thankfully that didn't really stop him as he's been making modern westerns ever since. In Escape, we see his full-tilt nod to the western shoot 'em-up, complete with the casting of Lee Van Cleef from the Sergio Leone films and Kurt Russell channeling Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name character for his portrayal of Snake Plissken, an ultimate example of the modernized gunslinger anti-hero."
The character of Snake Plissken is a staple of the action film genre, as evident by countless imitators, namely Solid Snake from the "Metal Gear" video games, but Kurt Russell almost didn't get the part due to his prior work in Walt Disney comedy films. Carpenter had previously worked with Russell on the Elvis TV movie and fought against casting actors more suited to the type like Tommy Lee Jones and even Charles Bronson, who was one of the influences for the film. His extensive training to be in the best shape for the role solidified his future career in the business and broke his Disney stigma.
Escape From New York plays at the Warren Oldtown Theatre on Monday and Tuesday with showings at 7 p.m. and 10 for each night. Tickets are only $5.