Escape While You Still Can
Man, oh man. Creature-Corner has just broken the news that the upcoming remake of the 1981 John Carpenter classic Escape From New York is being helmed by none other than Len Wiseman. If you are unfamiliar with Escape From New York first off, I pity you. Secondly, let me fill you in. Escape is the first of the wonderful eighties Carpenter/Kurt Russell trilogy (followed by The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China...both classics) that stars Russell as the ultimate badass, Snake Plissken (eventually the character was copped/emulated in the Metal Gear video game series).
The plot summary is something like this: After the president's plane is shotdown over a post-apocalyptic New York (which has now been turned into an island prison for the worst of the worst criminals), Snake, an incarcerated convict, is offered his freedom if he will agree to be sent into New York in order to save him. Doesn't sound too wonderful, but it is. The one-liners, action, and all out badassosity (yep) of the character make the movie an ultimate funride. Snake is iconic in the world of genre-loving geeks.
And now, instead of Kurt Russell, we get Gerard Butler (star of the bloated and overrated 300). Don't get me wrong, Butler showed he had some chops in 300, but come on! He ain't Snake effing Plissken. There's only one guy that can do it, and that's Russell. If we have to suffer through a remake of a film that is in no need of one, at least put Kurt in it! Now, I'm not so sure about this "let's show Snake's origins". I'd be all for it, if John Carpenter was penning it, but he ain't. Some guy that's only written one script is (Ken Nolan - Black Hawk Down).
And, instead of John Carpenter, we get Len Wiseman. Wonderful. We replace on of the greatest auteurs (yeah, I said it) of the past 30 years and replace him with the guy that directed three ultimately forgettable movies (the two Underworld films and the latest Die Hard). Hmmm...sounds like a fair trade off. Let's think, Carpenter's first three major motion pictures went like this: Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, and The Fog. That's a home run, grand slam, and base hit in a row.
I feel certain that the only reason for the Wiseman/Butler combo is because they are now "bankable" due to their recent successes. I have to wonder what would have happend if Grindhouse hadn't flopped. Would we at least see an offer to Russell for the role? Maybe. Then again...
In short (or kind of long), this is a movie that shouldn't be remade anyway (very few of the movies in this current craze of remakes were actually in want of a remake - look at Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Assault on Precinct 13 or Halloween), but Escape is so distinctly an eighties film that it is mind-boggling how someone could look at it and say that it needed to be remade. You Hollywood parasites! Now, we could get into a whole thing here about the questionable integrity of the remake in general, but we won't. However, I will say I don't think they are inherently evil, but that the current trend of remaking my beloved genre films feels like a lack of creativity mixed with a lack of respect for the films themselves (likely because they are indeed genre films - odds are you won't see Ja Rule in a remake of The Lady Eve). Ladies and gentlemen, I implore you, is nothing sacred?
- Jordan M.