In the future, crime is out of control
and New York City is a maximum security prison. Grabbing a bargaining chip
right out of the air, convicts bring down the President's plane in bad
old Gotham. Gruff Snake Plissken, a one-eyed warrior new to prison life,
is coerced into bringing the President, and his cargo, out of this land
of undesirables. Kurt Russell put his Disney days behind him as the nicest
bad guy in the picture.
All comic-book sensibilities and macho
posturing, this is one of writer-director John Carpenter's better brainless
escapes. There are snappy one-liners and explosive action scenes. However,
the film lacks tension and some believability even within the realm of
SF fantasy. Even when it fails to gel, though, it always manages to amuse,
thanks in great part to a varied and unusual supporting cast (watch for
Ernest Borgnine as a cabdriver). Followed in 1996 by Carpenter's overdone
and campy Escape from L.A.
Kurt Russell landed a part in the Elvis
movie, "It Happened at the World's Fair", when he was 10 years old. In
1960, Walt Disney himself signed Russell to a 10 year contract. Once his
stint as a child actor ended, Russell spent the early 1970's playing minor
league baseball. In 1979, he gave a classic performance as Elvis Presley
in John Carpenter's ABC-TV movie. He followed with roles in a string of
well-received films: "Used Cars", "Escape from New York", "The Thing" and
"Silkwood". In 1983 he met Goldie Hawn when they worked together on "Swing
Shift". The two have lived together ever since. The movie was a failure
- as was their next one together, "Overboard".
During the 1980's, Russell
starred in a rash of disappointments: "The Best of Times", "Big Trouble
in Little China" and "Winter People". Finally, his career seemed to be
seriously stalled. He only landed "Tango and Cash" after Patrick Swayze
dropped out; Dennis Quaid was the first choice for the part in "Backdraft".
In the end, these two roles were key in re-establishing him as a box-office
Interesting fact about Kurt Russell:
Salary for the movie Soldier was $12 million.