Escape from New York
If an average person meets Kurt Russell in a dark alley in the middle of the night, he thinks to himself, "I bet I could beat this guy to death with a piece of string cheese."
Wanting to combine the best elements of action and science fiction movies, director John Carpenter knew he would need to cast the lead in "Escape from New York" -- former military man turned renegade, Snake Plissken -- with somebody who could convey the invincibility, toughness and brutality needed in a badass antihero. The studio suggested Charles Bronson. Having been traumatized by years of bad Disney films, however, Carpenter had other ideas. He thought, "Here's a guy who survived 'The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes' and 'The Barefoot Executive' -- now this guy must be tough."
If an average person meets Charles Bronson in a dark alley in the middle of the night, he thinks to himself, "This guy is going to stomp me." If an average person meets Kurt Russell in a dark alley in the middle of the night, he thinks to himself, "I could beat this guy to death with a piece of string cheese."
Nevertheless, when the President's (Donald Pleasance) plane goes down and he's captured by the Duke (Isaac Hayes), police chief Bob Hauk (Lee Van Cleef) sends Kurt Russell in to go get him. In the process, Snake meets Cabbie (Ernet Borgnine) and runs into his old friend Brain (Harry Dean Stanton) who, with the help of his woman Maggie (Adrienne Barbeau), leads Snake to the President.
However, the premise of the film is ridiculous from the onset -- the year is 1997 and Manhattan has been turned into a prison camp. This utopian vision of the Big Apple's future hurts the credibility of the movie throughout.
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