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Escape from L.A.

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 3 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Escape from L.A. UHD impresses with quality, lacks extras; film's charm divisive.

    Escape from L.A. 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Paramount's 4K UHD release of Escape from L.A. transforms the film with striking detail, vivid colors, and improved depth, offering a cinematic experience far superior to previous editions.

  • Audio
  • Escape from L.A.'s 4K release boasts an energetic DTS-HD 5.1 track, offering vibrant, clear audio with effective surround sound, despite lacking Atmos/DTS:X immersion and full low-end punch in action scenes.

  • Extra
  • The Collector's Edition disappoints with minimal extras—just a trailer—despite a £15 premium over the standard. Unlike Shout's 2020 edition, it lacks substantial content, failing to justify its title or price.

  • Movie
  • Despite John Carpenter's claim, 'Escape from L.A.' isn't superior to its iconic predecessor; laden with poor CG, outlandish plots, and a gleeful Kurt Russell, its UHD release outshines its 1080p version but lacks new extras.

    Video: 85

    The 4K UHD Blu-Ray release of "Escape from L.A." presents an exemplary leap in quality over previous versions, marking a substantial improvement that fans and newcomers alike will appreciate. Paramount has utilized a new 4K restoration from the original camera negative, creating a digital intermediate that captures the film's original cinematic essence with stunning clarity and detail. The 2160p resolution image, maintaining the almost original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, delivers vibrant colors and deep blacks through the application of HDR10 and Dolby Vision, offering a visual experience that is both faithful to John Carpenter's vision and dynamically enhanced for current home cinema standards. This release, reviewed across multiple high-end setups, showcases significantly better image stability, color saturation, and detail compared to its 1080p predecessor, which feels notably inferior by comparison.

    Detail and clarity receive particular attention in this release, with the film's inherent softness due to Carpenter's anamorphic shooting style not detracting from the improved resolution that highlights facial details and the textures of the dystopian landscape of L.A. The film's grain structure appears natural, avoiding the pitfalls of digital noise reduction to maintain a filmic quality. Dolby Vision's handling of the darker scenes enriches the viewing experience, ensuring deep, ink-black shadows and subtle gradations in low-light conditions without compromising on detail. Special mention goes to the vivid portrayal of colors where they appear—be it in explosions, car finishes, or costume details—bringing a lush vibrancy to the film's otherwise grimy palette.

    Ultimately, this 4K UHD release stands out for its robust bit rates and thoughtful restoration work, which together ensure that "Escape from L.A." looks better than ever before. Paramount’s effort in refreshing this classic not only makes it a visual treat but also elevates it to what might be considered the definitive home viewing experience of the film. The improvements in image quality, coupled with superior color grading and shadow detail offered by Dolby Vision, attest to the significant strides made in home media technology, making this release a must-have for collectors and fans eager to see Snake Plissken in all his glory.

    Audio: 69

    Escape from L.A.'s 4K UHD Blu-ray release presents an ambitious audio restoration that brings John Carpenter's cult classic to life through its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Reprising the familiar opening score with exceptional delivery, the soundtrack offers seamless width and immersive surround sound, particularly impressing during the film's earthquake sequence for its solid bass and the lifelike collapse of the cityscape around the listener. While some may lament the absence of a Dolby Atmos track for an even more enveloping experience—especially during sequences involving helicopters or tidal waves—the 5.1 setup still accomplishes a vivid sense of atmosphere, from high-tech headquarters to the gritty L.A. exteriors. Dialogue remains clear, centered, and well-prioritized, providing a balanced mix that complements the onscreen action without overwhelming it.

    The audio presentation on this 4K release is distinguishably loud and aggressive, fully utilizing the potential of early surround sound technology to create an all-encompassing aural environment. Despite a strong performance in mid to high frequencies and an impressive display of Carpenter’s iconic synth-heavy score, which envelops the viewer in a constant barrage of sound, the low-end response during critical action sequences like gunfire and explosions is somewhat lacking in force. This minor shortfall aside, the vibrancy of dialogue and fidelity throughout the film is commendable. The soundtrack actively engages listeners with aggressive surround steering and dynamic positioning, ensuring an engaging viewing experience despite the missed opportunity for adding height channels for extra immersion.

    Nevertheless, Paramount’s effort in audio remastering is evident in delivering a highly energetic and atmospheric experience that faithfully reproduces the original theater audio quality. The soundtrack manages to capture the essence of Escape from L.A., balancing between a nostalgic tribute and modern enhancements. Although the track stops short of utilizing the latest in audio spatial re-creation technologies, it provides an active and compelling soundscape that honors Carpenter's vision while leaving room for future technology upgrades.

    Extra: 68

    The 4K UHD Blu-Ray release of "Escape from L.A." presents a starkly limited array of extras, primarily featuring only the film's original trailer (1080p, 1:34) across both 4K and 1080p formats, falling significantly short of expectations set by previous releases. Notably, the Shout! Factory edition included a comprehensive suite of additional content, such as half a dozen featurettes among other valuable materials, starkly contrasting with Paramount's sparse offering. This release, marketed as a Collector’s Edition, attempts to offset the dearth of digital extras with physical inclusions like a folded poster, six art cards, and some stickers within an admittedly unique packaging. However, these additions hardly seem to justify the notable price increase, rendering this edition less appealing for those seeking a rich, extras-packed experience that befits its title and price point.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Escape from L.A. Theatrical Trailer: The original movie trailer.

    Movie: 65

    Escape from L.A." returns Kurt Russell to his iconic role as Snake Plissken in a sequel that desperately attempts to outmatch its predecessor with an ambitiously updated setting and an arsenal of new, albeit futuristic quirks. While John Carpenter, in interviews, has lauded the film as being superior to "Escape from New York," this assertion doesn't quite ring true upon viewing. Set in a dystopian 2013, Los Angeles has become a no-man's-land following a catastrophic earthquake, setting the stage for Snake's new mission: to retrieve a dangerous weaponized satellite system. Despite Russell’s enthusiastic dive back into his favorite character, which notably marks his sole writing credit, the movie struggles under the weight of its own ambition, encapsulating a blend of socio-political satire and sci-fi action that occasionally misses the mark.

    The technical aspects of the film's 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation do offer some redemption, presenting a visual feast vastly superior to previous releases. Paramount's upgrade boasts a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack that encapsulates the film's auditory essence more crisply than ever before. Unfortunately, the supplementary content is scant, leaving much to be desired for fans wishing for a deeper dive into the making and legacy of this sequel. Despite advancements in visual and sound quality, "Escape from L.A." is hamstrung by its reliance on nascent CGI technology that has aged poorly, detracting from the film's visual storytelling.

    "Escape from L.A." tries to satirize and dissect the very notion of sequels and Hollywood’s obsession with image over substance, yet it becomes victim to its own critique. While Russell shines as Plissken, bringing a palpable sense of joy and grit to the role, the film is ultimately a mishmash of overambitious ideas and underwhelming execution. The narrative attempts a 'road-trip through hell' that revisits many motifs from its predecessor but ends up feeling like a campy comment on mid-90s society rather than a coherent follow-up. The 4K UHD presentation heightens the experience but can only polish the surface of what is essentially an ill-fated venture into an apocalyptic Los Angeles.

    Total: 55

    The 4K UHD Blu-Ray release of "Escape from L.A." offers a splendid visual feast that showcases the strengths and weaknesses of the movie itself. Paramount has certainly outdone themselves in delivering a transfer that is significantly superior to its previous Blu-Ray incarnations, offering clarity, depth, and color that breathes new life into this cult classic. The visual presentation is astonishing, providing a night-and-day difference, especially when compared to the older UK Blu-Ray release. This jump in quality brings the film's over-the-top action and unique aesthetic to the forefront, making it a joy for both long-time fans and those discovering it for the first time. However, it's worth noting that while the video quality is beyond reproach, the audio experience, though excellent with its new 5.1 track, leaves something to be desired for those anticipating an Atmos mix.

    On the downside, the package is somewhat let down by the sparse offering of extras. This lack of additional content might disappoint some enthusiasts looking for a deeper dive into the making and legacy of "Escape from L.A." Despite this shortfall, the film itself remains a polarizing piece; it is a movie that divides opinion strongly, being seen either as a masterpiece of political satire and high camp or as an underwhelming sequel that failed to leave its mark. Its enhanced visual quality, however, allows viewers to appreciate its ambitious, albeit flawed, execution in ways not previously possible.

    In conclusion, the 4K UHD Blu-Ray of "Escape from L.A." stands as the definitive edition for fans and newcomers alike, offering an unparalleled viewing experience that highlights the film's unique charm. While it might not convert those previously unconvinced by its merits, this release underscores the movie's place within John Carpenter's oeuvre. Despite its shortcomings in supplementary content and the absence of an Atmos track, this version represents the best way to experience the film's audacious vision. Fans should consider opting for the standard edition over the Collector's for a more value-focused purchase, given the lack of substantial extras.