Scream Factory continues bringing John Carpenter’s iconic films to high definition with their 2K restoration of “Escape from New York.” Instead of their usual one-disc Collector’s Editions we’ve come to expect, they give us a two-disc set packed with all sorts of great extra features. It’s a must-have for all fans of the movie and necessary viewing for those who haven’t seen it yet.
In “Escape from New York,” it's 1997 and a major war between the United States and the Soviet Union is concluding. The entire island of Manhattan has been converted into a giant maximum security prison. When Air Force One is hijacked and crashes into the island, the president (Donald Pleasence) is taken hostage by a group of inmates. Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), a former Special Forces soldier turned criminal, is recruited to retrieve the president in exchange for his own freedom.
The thing that impressed me upon re-watching "Escape from New York" on Blu-ray was the practical effects, models, and background paintings utilized. In the age of CGI, they still look realistic and make you feel like you're watching something that's actually happening in front of you. You feel as if you've been dropped with Snake into the middle of the Rotten Apple.
Scream Factory went all out for the “Escape from New York” Collector’s Edition. Disc One contains a new 2K scan of the movie from the original negative. There are three sets of audio commentary included for the film. New commentary is provided by Actress Adrienne Barbeau and Director of Photography Dean Cundey. Another commentary track contains Director John Carpenter and Actor Kurt Russell. Producer Debra Hill and Production Designer Joe Alves share their insight on the film for a third commentary track.
Disc Two of the “Escape from New York” Collector’s Edition gives fans even more bonus material to get excited about. Dennis Skotak, Robert Skotak, and others take a new look at the Special Visual Effects. There’s a new interview with Still Photographer Kim Gottlieb Winter. We also get a featurette entitled “Return to ‘Escape from New York.’” A deleted scene of the original opening bank robbery scene is found. It also contains theatrical trailers, photo galleries, and more.
“Escape from New York” is rated R for violence and gore, profanity, smoking, nudity, and frightening and intense sequences. A girl is seen topless in a rather darkly lit sequence that lasts barely five seconds. The rest of the “offending” content is rather tame by today’s standards.
I’m sure there are not many out there who haven’t seen “Escape from New York” in one form or another over the past 35 years. Besides the fact that it’s set in the future 18 years ago, the movie still holds up because it’s actually more realistic and grounded than most dystopic sci-fi films. Instead of the flying cars and advanced technology viewed in movies like “Blade Runner,” we see believable and relevant settings that could transpire in the next decade or so.
"Escape from New York" Collector's Edition is available now on Blu-ray.