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Movie Review

Escape from L.A.

Reviewed by: Kevin J. Burk
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Crime Action Adventure
Year of Release:
1996
R

“Escape from L.A.” is the 1990’s sequel to the low-budget action movie “Escape from New York”. Kurt Russell reprises his role as the ex-soldier and ex-convict “Snake” Pliskin. The story is set in the not-too-distant future, in which a great earthquake has flooded much of the west coast of the United States, leaving L.A. one gigantic island. The “Christian” President at the time had himself declared President-for-life and has been exiling “undesirables”, i.e., anyone he doesn’t like, to the island of L.A. Unfortunately, the President’s daughter is in league with rebel forces on L.A. and helps to steal a top secret device that they hope will allow them to disable power sources on the mainland and return the continental U.S.

Pliskin is dispatched to recover the device and kill the President’s daughter. As an incentive, the President has him injected with a fast-acting, lethal virus. Pliskin is promised the antidote when he returns with his mission completed. Pliskin must overcome all types of thugs and unsavory characters to complete his mission and escape from L.A.

This film had a very impressive production design and made excellent use of computer graphics and well-constructed sets to produce a very post-apocalyptic look for Los Angeles. Many of L.A.’s famous landmarks are duplicated in great detail (even a well-known amusement park in Anaheim makes an appearance). Kurt Russell was convincing, if unlikable, as Snake. Unfortunately, I cannot highly recommend this film for Christians. The main character displays no respect for life and seems to care nothing for anything but himself. The President is the worst stereotype of a Bible-believing Christian, a bigoted, cruel maniac—an all-too familiar sight in movies these days. “Escape from L.A.” is well-done from a technical standpoint, but this is overshadowed by its dark atmosphere, gratuitous violence and existential message.

Viewer Comments
…[This movie] was certainly made for an adult audience… [the reviewer's] negative review seems to be more annoyance at its depiction of the “Christian” president as a Hitler clone, than a critique of its plot, performances, and technical quality. The character of “Snake Plisskin” wasn’t likeable in the warm, fuzzy sense, and he wasn’t intended to be—he’s a realistic depiction of what men become without hope… The brutal truth is that many people do live without hope, and die without it—and that’s something that should be of grave concern to us, not a subject to avoided or be annoyed by or gloss over with contrived happy endings. The “Christian” president is also a warning: that without the love of Christ, we can become every bit as self-righteous, judgmental, controlling and condemnatory as that character was—and with a person such as him in control of the world, it was already in darkness: Plisskin merely made the spiritual darkness a physical reality. Although I hate to say it, that “Christian” president is precisely what most people of my acquaintance assume all Christians are—and the fault is that of Christians themselves. The adultery and dishonesty of President Clinton is only one in a long line of examples of definitely non-Christian behavior by people who call themselves Christians—and that their purported faith is put in disrepute by their behavior seems to disturb them not at all. If Christians were the happiest, most loving, content, industrious, faithful and honest people on the planet, people would be converting in droves, without a single sermon being preached…
—Kim