In 1996, John Carpenter directed the sequel to his film Escape From New York, titled Escape From L.A. While the film is often seen as a failure, it is actually an entertaining follow-up that deserves more respect. Kurt Russell returns to reprise his role as Snake Plissken, who is once again on a death-defying mission for the government. This time, he must infiltrate Los Angeles, which has become an island filled with criminals, and retrieve a control unit to prevent nuclear annihilation.
John Carpenter’s Underrated Gem
The film features a talented cast, including Steve Buscemi as Map to the Stars Eddie, Pam Grier as Hershe Las Palmas, Peter Fonda as Pipeline, and Bruce Campbell as the Surgeon General of L.A. It is worth noting that Escape From L.A. is the only sequel that Carpenter has personally directed, despite contributing to sequels of his other films, such as Halloween 2.
Escape From L.A. faced many challenges during its production. It had a budget of $50 million but only managed to recoup half of it at the box office. The film was heavily criticized for its use of CGI, as this was still new territory for many studios. Additionally, Buena Vista Visual Effects had never used computer effects before, which likely contributed to the negative reception of the film’s visuals.
One of the reasons why Escape From L.A. received mixed reviews is because it came out 15 years after the original. People had certain expectations for what the film should be, and Carpenter’s style may not have aligned with the changing trends in Hollywood during the 90s. The film also takes aim at Hollywood and its typical movie business nonsense, which further added to its divisive nature.
Escape From L.A. is a movie that is consciously campy and satirical. It is far smarter than it initially appears, with its criticism of Hollywood and sequels themselves. Despite its flaws, the film can be seen as an experimental and creative endeavor from Carpenter. Unfortunately, these elements are overshadowed by the film’s cheap-looking CGI.
After Escape From L.A., Carpenter directed three more films, all of which were met with similar critical and commercial fates. However, Carpenter has found success in other areas, such as composing soundtracks for Halloween films and touring his music around the world. While hopes of him directing a Dead Space film were dashed, he has taken on a video game project called John Carpenter’s Toxic Commando.
In conclusion, Escape From L.A. may not have been a box office success or received favorable reviews, but it still deserves more respect. Carpenter’s sequel is an entertaining and satirical film that showcases his creativity and experimentation, despite its visual shortcomings. Carpenter continues to find success in his other endeavors, proving that he is more than just a director.