– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Well, you certainly won’t be able to call this a paint-by-numbers remake…

The Wrap has just published a report that reveals a ton of new information about the upcoming Escape From New York remake, and I must say…it sounds pretty cool. Rather than simply re-telling the same story told in the original 1981 cult classic starring Kurt Russell, this new Escape will really put its own spin on the material. 

The remake is being written by Neal Cross, of the BBC’s Luthor. Thanks to his work on that series, Cross is known for his ability to create interesting characters and for telling gritty, interesting stories, and so many fans rejoiced when he landed the Escape From New York job, since they felt it could spare the remake from being what other recent redos like RoboCop and Total Recall were. 

And for now, it seems, Cross is rewarding people’s optimism by turning in a first draft of his script for Escape From New York that really takes some interesting liberties.

Based on what I’m reading, I’m being reminded of films like Demolition Man and Elysium, where- in the future- synthetic, sterile, seemingly peaceful locations look great on the surface but aren’t really all they’re cracked up to be. And it’s going to take a man who possesses guts and cunning to infiltrate themand expose what’s really going on, and to break the class warfare that’s keeping outsiders away from having access to the wonderful amenities within. 

See, in this new Escape From New York, the Big Apple isn’t a maximum security prison like it was in the original. It’s a walled-in city. Here’s how The Wrap describes it:

“New York is breathtakingly lovely. Manhattan is the island we know, but with more towering glass structures and a high, undulating glass wall. The sky is alive with drones as serene as bees, and artificial intelligence controls all in the form of an ethnically ambiguous, cheery young woman called April. A small staff of technicians and researchers known as ‘Seers’ monitor all.”

And it’s being run by wealthy humanitarian Thomas Newton, the “playboy heir of an agrochemical and biotech corporation.” A few years back, he donated his entire fortune- seemingly to help create this new, serene New York. There will obviously more to Newton than meets the eye.

Enter the anti-hero

In the remake, Colonel Robert “Snake” Plissken will be arrested in an opening scene that takes place outside of New York somewhere. Clearly, Plissken’s arrest is an indication that he’s a good man that, perhaps, doesn’t like to play by the rules. (This is the part that reminds of Demolition Man‘s John Spartan)

Plissken is going to somehow end up being recruited for a secret mission, where he’ll have exactly 11 hours to infiltrate New York City, apprehend Newton, and bring him in alive. 

Other notable elements from the script, which give us some idea of the plot of the film, is that a hurricane named Superstorm Ellery is coming. Why is this an issue? Well, in this dystopian future, much of the world’s population lives in chaos. Unlike the residents of Newton’s New York City, a huge part of the population are either refugees, “internally displaced, or seeking asylum.” With the storm coming, it’s probably a high priority to get people into the safety of the city.

Or could it be that Newton views the coming storm as a chance to flood his walled city in a very biblical way, and that’s why he must be stopped? The role the storm plays in the film’s plot remains a mystery. 

Newton has a secret failsafe, though, which is something Plissken must contend with. A device called a “Fat Boy,” which is about the size of a car, an ominous metal orb that “sits in a nest of conduits and cabling.”

If the new Plissken is anything like the badass character Russell played in the original Escape From New York, I can envision there being some fun scenes as he infiltrates the peaceful and serene New York- since I don’t imagine he’d play too well with others or have much patience for the cheery disposition of its residents. 

It’s notable that the original film’s writer and director John Carpenter, will serve as an executive producer on this remake. 

Keeping in mind that this was all from the first draft, which was turned into the studio in October, what do you think of how this Escape From New York is shaping up? And I don’t suppose I’m the only one picking up on the topical relevance of a “Walled off” society with lots of displaced refugees looking for asylum…


Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.