Escape From New York [1981]

I just witnessed, quite possibly, the most bad ass film that exists on this planet. It was called ‘Escape from New York‘, and it managed to infiltrate my top ten movie list, elbow one of the movies right in the face, smoke a cigarette, save the president, and return to being straight up cool. The story is simple and yet brilliant: Crime in the US has risen by 400%, authorities have pretty much given up on Manhattan and have walled its entire perimeter and turned it into a prison, however; its prisoners are totally free to do whatever it is that they do. Out of sight, out of mind is the principle value factored into this zany equation. But when the president’s ship, en route to an important meeting, crash lands in the middle of Manhattan’s mayhem filled streets, it’s time for the big dogs outside to pull some strings to get him back. Meet Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), an ex special forces war hero turned criminal, called into action by USPF Commisioner Bob Hauk (Lee Van Cleef – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly). A deal is made: Snake must infiltrate Manhattan, find the president, and then escort him past the walls, back into safety. The catch: Snake only has 24, no wait… 22 hours to do it!

Escape From New York

With Escape From New York John Carpenter very successfully allows the viewer short glimpses at a very disturbing slice of dystopia: a society shut off from the rest of the world, fueled by crime and violence, and of course, synthetic blade runner esque sounds. The soundtrack in this film is amazing, and it really helps set up the tone and suspense of the desolate landscape the film is set in. The best thing about this movie is how it watches like a video game, from the first 5 minutes you are literally glued to the screen, playing it in your mind as though it were a first person shooter. It has it all: the bad ass anti-hero with a hinted at back story, the cop briefing you on your mission (metal gear solid style), gadgets, silenced weapons, stealth, a couple of sluts, lots of enemies and a sci-fi soundtrack. It’s a perfect blend of Fallout, Perfect Dark
and Metal Gear Solid, and it’s very, very entertaining. I won’t ruin the movie for you, you will just have to watch it for yourself, but I will leave you with an excerpt from Hideo Kojami, the creator of the Metal Gear Solid series, and his opinion on this fantastic film and how it influenced his games: Continue reading

Wu-Tang Clan: Melburn’ City

Concert

Wu-Tang Clan, the legendary hip-hop group that managed to make hip-hop ‘cool’ amongst a whole lot of white kids. While this is a super feat in itself, the real genius behind the clan is thankfully found in their music and not their popularity. Their first album ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’ released towards the end of 1993, is still regarded as one of the monoliths of hip-hop recordings. The album solidified the clan’s reputation for extensive use of sampling – particularly from old samurai flicks such as Shogun Assasin (1980) – and their use of dark and grimy beats, crafted and produced by the head of the clan, RZA. The clan contains 9 members: RZA (Rizza), GZA (Gizza), Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Masta Killa and U-God, and their first single ‘Protect Ya Neck’ was one of the first hip-hop recordings to feature 8 rappers dropping verses (Masta Killa was in prison at the time). Big L later released a song titled ‘8 Iz Enuf’ which also featured 8 rappers, in response to ‘Protect Ya Neck’. Each member had a distinct style and brought something individual to the table, it never sounded like you were just listening to 9 black dudes yo’ing all over the place. Of course, a few of the members weren’t all that great (U-God, Masta Killa…) but despite this each member all went off to deliver very successful solo albums, with the cream of the crop being GZA’s ‘Liquid Swords’, Raekwon’s ‘Only Built 4 Cuban Linx’ and Ghostface’s ‘Ironman’ in that order of greatness.

Continue reading