Reviewed by: Kevin J. Burk
“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.