Posted on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
A couple years back, New Line Cinema was trying to remake John Carpenter’s 1981 sci-fi actioner Escape from New York. They first hired Live Free or Die Hard helmer Len Wiseman, who got replaced with Brett Ratner. I wasn’t excited about either of the two filmmakers rebooting Snake Plissken, although Wiseman’s production design background made him the better choice of the two. This is a time right after 300 made huge bank at the box office, resulting in the casting of Gerard Butler as the new Plissken. The project thankfully fell into the wayside, never to be heard from again… until now.
Breck Eisner, director of The Crazies, has signed on to direct the remake of Escape from New York, set up with producer Neal H. Moritz‘s Original Films. HeatVision says they will be sticking with Allan Loeb‘s draft, which “tries to mix an origin story for anti-hero Snake Plissken and merge it with the story of the 1981 original.”
Earlier this year we learned a bit about the rewrite by the 21/Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps scribe, which Vulture said “nailed the humor in Plissken without slipping into camp, and he changed Snake’s rescue-mission target from a president to a female senator, thereby upping the banter quotient.” They also found a much cheaper way to film the story, by changing destroyed Manhattan into a “geographically undesirable, but intact” privately run penal colony which was created “after the detonation of a crude radioactive dirty bomb on the outskirts of the city.”
The remaining details are pretty thin, but it seems like they are trying to remain faithful to the original, at least when it comes to Snake (apparently part of Carpenter’s agreement with New Line for the remake is that the Snake character would have to remain almost identical to the original film).
I know that many of you have a gag reflex when it comes to sequels and reboots, but sometimes I’m willing to give them a chance. Escape From New York is an awesome film, but I’ve revisited it recently, and the special effects don’t hold up at all. The concept begs for a remake, and the new computer effects technology could create a future dystopian New York like we’ve never seen before.
And that is where New Line has lost me. What is the point of creating this world if Manhattan is still standing? I haven’t been impressed with Loeb’s screenplays thus far, and so many writers have done drafts on this project that it is hard to imagine it won’t be a mess (as they say, too many cooks ruin the soup).
Eisner has proven himself to be a resourceful director with a good eye for cinematics. His remake of The Crazies was produced for an estimated $12 million and looks like a $30 or $40 million movie. But is he the right choice to reboot Snake Plissken?