Sequel Saturday: Escape From New York… Again, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi
Horror film directing legend John Carpenter has had more films remade than most, even for cult classics like The Fog. According to Deadline, it looks like Escape From New York will be added to that list.
I’m skeptical this will get off the ground for a few reasons. In 2007, Escape From New York almost got remade with Gerard Butler in the lead, replacing the role of Snake Plissken played by Kurt Russell in the first two films. Although John Carpenter is onboard as an Executive Producer for this remake, the character of Snake Plissken isn’t iconic enough to be recognized by most. Years ago I caught the trailer for Escape from L.A. A short scene was played from the film as big text flared up on the screen- SNAKE… IS… BACK! More than a few people in the audience shouted out, “Who?!?” If a sequel released 15 years after the original managed to flop, it’s doubtful there will be an audience for a fresh remake/reboot/rehash.
The love fans have for Snake Plissken is misplaced. If we’re really going to be honest about it, Escape From New York was a good John Carpenter movie. A good one, not a great one. It had a gritty tone, a great score, and a middling story. Certainly didn’t grab you by the collar and demand you give it your undivided attention. Escape From L.A. was Carpenter grasping at his past straws of success. Didn’t help that the budget was cut and we have a glaring example of poor CG in helicopter and surfing sequences. Even with a cool ending and a Bruce Campbell cameo, Escape From L.A. is leagues behind its so-so predecessor.
Still, with the right director and a quirky group of actors, a remake of Escape From New York could be a groovy little B movie. Increase the political satire and tone down the cartoonish nature of the whole enterprise. Bring back Kurt Russell as a meaty supporting role and it might just inspire a string of direct-to-video sequels (see 2008’s Death Race and its spawn).