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Escape from L.A. Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Violent, semi-spoofy action sequel is too dark for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that violence here 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.

  • Families can talk about Snake Plissken. Is he a hero or a character with no redeeming social value? Is what he does at the end justified?
  • Ask viewers of the back-to-back movies which Escape they liked better, New York or LA.

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: 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.

  • rolemodels true0

    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.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: 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.

  • sex false2

    Sex: 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.

  • language false3

    Language: The s-word, the f-word, "Godamnit," "ass" and "asshole."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Universal Pictures logo and a euphemistic cameo by a deformed Disneyland (the "Happy Kingdom").

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and 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.