I really enjoyed “Escape from New York”, so I was expecting similar enjoyment from the sequel. Well, similar’s the word alright. The film is more remake than sequel, director John Carpenter saying as much himself in stating “They’re essentially the same movie”. I’d be more inclined to be fine with that if the movie remade the quality along with the premise and plot, but it didn’t.
Aged CGI abounds, there’s far less of the fun self-aware factor of the first film, the dystopic worldbuilding gets tiresome as it’s pushed over-the-top into outright biblical territory. That latter point might have been interesting if it was explored beyond endless exposition by characterless side characters, and a Reagan lookalike banning red meat, guns, and everything in between. I did enjoy the wackiness of L.A. becoming an island, but not when I realised it was so it could substitute for Manhattan Island and give rise to an outright remake of the first film’s plot.
I wanted to like scenes like the basketball and surfing scenes. They were zany and self-aware like the first film, right? But the film just hadn’t won me over. I didn’t buy into the world, I didn’t buy into Russel as Snake in this one, it just didn’t land for me. It’s too self-serious while maintaining all the campy B-movie elements.
I wouldn’t call it a terrible film, but I cannot fathom any reason to watch this instead of the vastly superior “Escape from New York”. I give it two surfboards, and a banned pack of smokes.