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The movie industry is like a zombie movie: bad ideas don’t die, they just multiply. You can’t keep a terrible film from being made, you can only hope that the participants grow broke or run out of enthusiasm for what, on the surface, sounds like a terrible project. Of course, when there’s even a single dollar to be made, some people just can’t be stopped. It was just days ago when we learned that the Akira remake has lived on like a cockroach in a nuclear winter. Now, an idea that seemed far away has come roaring back to life, in triplicate.
This would be the remake to Escape From New York, which producer Joel Silver has been busy trying to get going for years now despite the chances of angering the gods and bringing a plague down upon us all for such hubris. He’s recently brought us the Liam Neeson thriller Non-Stop and on the promotional tour, someone at Collider had the stones to ask him if his evil plans for the John Carpenter classic still existed. And his answer chills to the bone: now it’s a trilogy. Quoth Silver:
"I always liked Kurt’s character, the Snake Plissken character, so I’ve always liked that idea, but we kind of figured out a way to do almost a trilogy of that story."
First of all: no. But we knew that already. Secondly: hell no. If Snake Plissken is so awesome (and of course he is), you can show us within the span of one movie. You don’t need six to eight years of Escape movies just to convey how awesome he is. Try showing it in one. And no, a guy with muscles and an eyepatch from central casting isn’t gonna cut it.
But oh, is Silver drawing his inspiration from another legendary movie? Or maybe a cult television show? No. His Escape From New York is going to be like a damned video game.
"There was a videogame that came out a few years ago called Arkham City, which shows how when Gotham became this kind of walled prison and how it became a walled prison. And they never deal with that in the story of Escape from New York, so part of our idea was to kind of see how the city became this walled prison and how the Snake Plissken character was a hero and how he became not looked at as a hero. And then, in the middle of the story, would be the movie that we, you know, previously saw about the President’s daughter goes down, he has to go in and get her. And then, you know, they did a sequel, Escape from LA, but I would like to then kind of find a way to have New York go back to a place that we’d like to see what it is today."
So he acknowledges that he’s seen Escape From L.A. and that he knows the limitations of the basic idea. You’d think that would be a big honking stop sign but no: Silver and his cronies believe they know Plissken better than John Carpenter himself, and are gonna use a damned Batman video game to illustrate the point. Because Hollywood doesn’t have enough movies with video game plotting.
These quotes are like nightmare fuel to anyone who loves Carpenter’s original movie, or hates remakes on general principle. The bottom line is, there are dollars to be squeezed out of Snake Plissken, and while Silver concedes the script isn’t ready (which normally impedes nothing, Ha Ha), the fact is that someone (specifically Joel Silver and Studio Canal) owns the rights and right now is picking and jabbing at the original film with a stick, desperate to see where 3D and a love interest can be added, and how it’s possible subversion can be surgically removed.