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A futuristic thriller set in 1997, John Carpenter's ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK finds Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell)--an ex-war hero, now convict--forced to rescue the President (Donald Pleasence) from a plane crash in New York City. The US is now a police state, and Manhattan has become one vast
prison in which convicts are summarily dumped and left to fend for themselves. If Snake fails to find the President in time, he'll be atomized by a time bomb implanted in his neck by ruthless Bob Hauk (Lee Van Cleef). Snake sallies forth into this dark world and experiences violent battles, narrow
escapes, and white-knuckle adventures, enlisting an anachronistic cabbie (Ernest Borgine) in his struggle to outwit a criminal mastermind played by Isaac Hayes. A generally gripping actioner, the film can also be read as a percipient satire of a society irreparably split along lines of class and
race. Carpenter's clever premise has since become fodder for innumerable straight-to-video cheapies. A "director's edition," featuring some 15 minutes of footage cut from the original theatrical release, appeared on video in 1994.