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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The worst-case-scenario script tells us that while freaks, terrorists, and gun-crazed Latino-Leftist gangs and warlords may be nasty, puritanical Christians and cops and US government authorities are worse, maybe. Or, as Plissken puts it, "America died a long time ago." Conclusion proposes that this simply isn't a world worth preserving.
Positive Role Models
Plissken is a hard-bitten, surly guy throughout, though not wantonly cruel. US police-military forces are fascistic types commanded by a Nazi-like Christian dictator. Los Angeles villains are stereotypical gun- and car-crazed Latinos. One sympathetic type surprisingly reveals herself to be a Muslim.
Violence & Scariness
Much shooting, with fatalities. Hand-to-hand combat, knife fighting, earthquake damage explosions and fireballs, and one gore scene in which human body parts lay around in a mad-science lab milieu. None of it is very realistic.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Glamorous LA street girls, gang molls, and prostitutes in skimpy leather and fetish-type outfits. One such character is a transsexual. Mention that sex outside of marriage has been rendered illegal.
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The s-word, the f-word, "Godamnit," "ass" and "asshole."
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Products & Purchases
Universal Pictures logo and a euphemistic cameo by a deformed Disneyland (the "Happy Kingdom").
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cigarettes (one brand labeled "American Spirit") are equated broadly, literally with strength and manliness -- and they're banned (along with drugs) by the fascist USA of tomorrow. The Che Guevera-lookalike villain smokes cigars.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the violence in Escape from L.A. includes gunfire, thrown knives, electrocutions, and rocket launches. Do-not-do-this-at-home stuff includes reckless motorcycle stunts. Swearing is at a typical R-level. The main character smokes cigarettes in a no-smoking country, the act upheld as the last vestige of the American spirit, literally. Negative stereotypes include Left-leaning Latino gangster-warlords and a thoroughly despicable, Right-wing Christian president who orders his own daughter executed. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It almost helps not to have seen the earlier Escape From New York (1981) to enjoy this ludicrous sci-fi actioner. Even though supposedly a sequel, Escape from L.A. is more akin to an alternative version of the original (like YA author Gary Paulsen's published what-if riffs of his classic novel Hatchet). Hot-and-cold running filmmaker John Carpenter hits absolutely the same marks subplot-for-subplot, character-for-character, only with quirky West Coast substitutes, i.e. a ghoulish Beverly Hills gang/cult addicted to plastic surgery, who cut up fellow Angelenos for spare parts. There's a visibly bigger budget, yet the CGI f/x are stiff and fake-looking. The social satire and cynicism of the first movie are also cranked up high, especially hostility toward Christians -- but at least the knowingly over-the-top stunts, absurdity, and weirdos make it easier to laugh this one off.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.