Escape From New York has had a number of Blu ray releases across the globe, the UK release was disappointing and looked like an upscale, but Shout Factory in the USA has released a new 2 disc collectors edition with new 2k scan and extra features.
Snake Pliskin, the hero of Escape From New York is one of actor Kurt Russell’s favourite roles and it’s easy to see why as he does his best Clint Eastwood against authority figure Hauk played by Lee Van Cleef. Watching it now it is amusing seeing how it is set in a future 1997 and how New York had become a federal prison surrounded by a great wall. Also, the setting of the twin towers as the landing spot for Snake Pliskin’s rescue is eerie seeing as we obviously now know what tragedy happened there.
Whats great about the film is that its low budget actually helps the film in a number of ways as the director had to think of ways to stage the action and make it look as big as it does. These days CGI would take over and spoil it completely and destroy the atmosphere created. A remake has already been suggested a few times lets just hope it gets stuck in development hell.
The great cast including Donald Pleasance, Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes and Harry Dean Stanton all give the film a classic feel as well as John Carpenter’s excellent score.
The new release by Shout Factory is, in my opinion, the best it has ever looked. It is certainly brighter than previous releases which some fans have complained about, but does not detract from the overall black look cinematographer Dean Cundey was after (he did supervise this transfer). It is a slightly soft presentation but fine detail and colour are very good.
Now the audio is a slightly frustrating experience. The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mix is very bold with separation very good in most cases. But there is no original stereo sound mix and some of the music cues are slightly different, noticeably the section where Pliskin is trying to rescue the president from a train. Most of the time the mix is very good and does not spoil the overall enjoyment but why they could not also have the original sound mix as well is baffling. (The 2.0 channel audio on this disc has the same remix).
Extra features are excellent and plentiful. Firstly if you have not already heard it listen to the John Carpenter and Kurt Russell audio commentary which was done a few years ago for the laserdisc release. It is informative and very funny and you can tell both are good friends. Two other audio commentaries are also included one with Producer Debra Hill and Production Designer Joe Alves and the other new one with Actress Adrienne Barbeau and Director of Photographer Dean Cundey.
Other extras include:
- Big Challenges in Little Manhattan: The Visual Effects of Escape from New York
- Scoring the Escape: A Discussion with Composer Alan Howarth
- On Set with John Carpenter: The Images of Escape from New York
- I Am Taylor: An Interview with Actor Joe Unger
- My Night on Set: An Interview with Filmmaker David DeCoteau
- Deleted Scene: The Original Opening Bank Robbery Sequence
- Return to Escape from New York Featurette
- Trailers and Photo Galleries.
An excellent package with good quality picture and audio that any fan of the film should pick up without reservation in our opinion and until a new 4k scan is done this is definitely the superior package.
The disc is locked to region A.
FILM: 9 PICTURE: 8 AUDIO: 7 EXTRAS: 9