[[quoteright:303:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/EscapeLA_1312.jpg]]

->'''President:''' If you go to Los Angeles, and come back with that black box and put it in my hand, you'll be given a full pardon for every moral crime you've committed in the United States.\\
'''Snake Plissken:''' Sounds familiar.

Snake Plissken (Creator/KurtRussell) is back in ''Escape from L.A.'', the 1996 sequel to Creator/JohnCarpenter's ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork''.

America has become even more {{dystopia}}n than it was in the earlier film: A [[ChurchMilitant theocratic]] [[TheFundamentalist fundamentalist]] [[StrawCharacter Christian]] President (Cliff Robertson) has taken over control of the country, and UsefulNotes/LosAngeles has become [[WretchedHive penal colony/no man's land/landfill/roach motel]] after breaking off of the US thanks to [[AfterTheEnd The Big One]]. As the film begins, an airplane escape pod has crash-landed in Los Angeles; this pod carried the President's daughter, Utopia (A. J. Langer), who has since sided with [[BigBad Cuervo Jones]] and taken the United State's super weapon -- a device that controls "The Sword of Damocles" satellite system, which would let the President hit any country in the world with an electromagnetic pulse -- with her. The President drafts Snake into entering Los Angeles, retrieving the device, and executing his daughter for treason. His reward for a successful mission will be a full pardon...as well as an antidote to a virus injected into him to ensure his compliance, of course.

Left with no options, Snake enters the fortified and barbwired city of Los Angeles; like New York before it, the city has become a prison with no guards and precious little order. As Plissken makes his way through ruins of what was once a vibrant and lively city, he both gains and loses allies, fights off loads of bad guys, and...

Well...

Let's just say the ending to this film is incredibly defiant and shocking for an action film -- even to people for whom ItWasHisSled.

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!! ''Escape from L.A.'' contains the following tropes:

* AbsurdlySpaciousSewer: Used by Snake as an escape route following one of the many shoot-outs in the film.
* AfterTheEnd: With the United States already speeding down CrapsackWorld Lane in 1998, an earthquake measuring 9.6 on the Richter Scale devastates Los Angeles in 2000 and happens to fulfill the prophecy of an [[ActivistFundamentalistAntics Activist Fundamentlist]] presidential candidate who is awarded a lifetime term of office.
* TheAlcatraz[=/=]PenalColony: Los Angeles, which has been separated from the mainland US by a massive earthquake, is now a prison for those deemed "unfit" to live in the new theocratic America. A Great Wall is built along the shoreline and the United States Police Force is encamped along it to prevent anyone from escaping back to the US.
* AllThereIsToKnowAboutTheCryingGame: As was the case with the previous installment, the title includes "Escape From", removing a bit of the dramatic tension concerning whether Snake will succeed or fail.
* ArcWords: "The more things change, the more they stay the same."
* ArtisticLicense: To be expected, given its genre and setting.
** ArtisticLicenseBiology / BioAugmentation: about a third of the way into the film this is PlayedForLaughs when Snake encounters [[spoiler: a cult of plastic surgery-addicted murderers led by the "Surgeon General of L.A."]]
-->[[spoiler: '''Snake''': What are they?]]
-->[[spoiler: '''Taslima''': Surgical failures. They live here. Too many implants and face-lifts over the years... Their muscles turned to Jell-O. The only way they survive is to have fresh body parts transplanted over and over again.]]
** ArtisticLicenseGeology: The movie's introduction explains that L.A. was hit by a 9.6 earthquake. While not ''impossible'', it is incredibly unlikely that a magnitude greater than 9 could be reached along that particular fault.
** ArtisticLicenseNuclearPhysics: Snake pilots a nuclear minisub to infiltrate the island, easily overloading the reactor by [[TimTaylorTechnology accelerating]] without causing a meltdown. The hologram projection device in his load-out also falls into this, as despite being the size of a hockey puck and equipped with a "mini-nuke battery", the battery only provides use for "about 8 minutes"
** ArtisticLicensePhysics: Perhaps too many to list, but here are a few:
*** The big threatening MacGuffin in the movie is the "Sword of Damocles", a network of space [=EMPs=] that will send the world back to the stone-age. In reality, most old technology is not susceptible to EMP disruption, and new tech can be shielded against such vulnerabilities. Considering the modern US military does for its equipment, it's reasonable to assume future-government tech should be able to shrug off such an attack.
*** Snake and Pipeline surf a tsunami. Given that even a normal wave can approach 100 mph and they were on land when the wave approached, it would simply envelop them rather than allow them to catch a ride.
*** By real-world standards, the hang gliders used to ambush the movie's CheGuevara clone stay aloft far too long, evidently floating on RuleOfCool.
* AwesomeButImpractical: Surfing on a Tsunami through the dilapidated ruins of L.A. chasing a Cadillac speeding on a high road...and catching it.
* BadassBiker: Snake when he rides a motorcycle.
* BadassLongcoat: Snake wears it.
* BigBadEnsemble: The American President is a religious fascist who turned his country into a police state and is willing to destroy entire countries if necessary to maintain his supremacy. [[NotSoDifferent Meanwhile]], Cuervo Jones runs the largest gang in Los Angeles and has united Latin America under the Shining Path to invade the United States and get that power for himself.
* BigBlackout: [[spoiler:Snake does this by activating the Sword of Damocles with the world code engaged. This is treated as a good thing, as it supposedly allows humanity to restart.]]
* BoringYetPractical: Snake is given [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking an array of weapons and gadgets going into LA... Among which is a simple box of matches]]. He uses them twice -- once to destroy a car, and the other to light up a cigarette at the end of the film.
-->'''Malloy''': Stick matches. Plain, old-fashioned stick matches. Never know when you might need them.
* BoxedCrook: As in the [[Film/EscapeFromNewYork previous film.]]
* ByronicHero: Snake's a pretty cold son of a bitch when it comes to killing his enemies. But he is deeply if subtly enraged by injustice; When [[spoiler:Taslima]] dies, he's visibly shocked and upset at the death of about the only person who hasn't either [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder turned on him]] or [[ManipulativeBastard outright manipulated him for their own ends]]. When the President sends [[spoiler:his daughter Utopia]] to the electric chair, he's deeply disgusted. And when he [[spoiler:shuts down the world with the Sword of Damocles]], he may ''say'', "The name is Plissken", but he ''means'', "This is for the forgotten."
* CaliforniaCollapse: A portion of the California coast has become separated from the mainland by a quake that flooded San Fernando Valley.
* CallBack
-->'''Taslima''': What are you doing here in L.A?\\
'''Snake''': Dying.\\
'''Taslima''': But first you have to find something, right?
* ChekhovsGun:
** [[spoiler:The holo-cam]], to an amazing degree of awesome.
** To a lesser extent, Snake getting his hand cut by the guard walking by him. It's revealed only a few minutes later what it was.
** Also the matches.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Eddie switches sides constantly.
* CoDragons: Both Cdr. Malloy and Lt. Brazen fill this role for the President.
* CombatPragmatist: "Nobody draws until this hits the ground."
* CoolGuns: The "Coreburner" assault rifle plus Snake's own [[GunsAkimbo pair]] of [[RevolversAreJustBetter revolvers]].
* CrapsackWorld: Los Angeles, reduced to an lawless dog-eat-dog hellhole, is described by one of its residents as "the only free zone left in the world" and something of a [[InfernalParadise dark paradise]] by Snake himself when compared to [[DayOfTheJackboot the police state of America]] and the rest of the world in general.
* CutTheJuice: What the Sword of Damocles does.
* DeadlyGame: ''Basketball'' becomes a life-or-death ImpossibleTask in this movie.
* DeadpanSnarker: It's probably safe to say Snake's even ''more'' of a snarker in this one.
* DelusionsOfGrandeur: The President. During the climax, [[spoiler: when he sentences his daughter to be executed]], he corrupts one of the Bible's most recognized verses, putting himself in The Almighty's place (of course, given that he's President For Life of a theocratic dictatorship, it'd probably be surprising if he ''didn't'' develop a God complex).
-->'''President:''' [[spoiler: "For he so loved his country, he gave his only seditious child."]]
-->'''Original Verse:''' "For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten son (...)" [John 3:16]
* DiedInYourArmsTonight: A surprising and realistically brief example
* DirtyCoward: The President starts freaking out the second things go off-plan, and has to be snapped back to reality by his Dragons.
* DoNotCallMePaul: [[spoiler: Hershe doesn't like Snake calling her by the name she used as a man when they first met, "Carjack".]]
* DownerEnding: In spite of the ending's attempt to come off as more "bittersweet", it really is something of a downer: [[spoiler:Snake shuts down the whole world's electricity, causing the deaths of billions and turning the world into one big third-world country, instead of turning control of the world over to the President or Cuervo[=/=]the Shining Path.]]
* EvilVersusEvil: Really, the Shining Path and the US Government are absolutely no different in terms of how evil they are -- both the President, a fascist fundamentalist, and Cuervo Jones, a vicious power-hungry terrorist, want the "Sword of Damocles" to use against the other's empire. And Snake, naturally, is trapped between 'em, and ultimately decides to [[spoiler:just [[TakeAThirdOption destroy them both]].]]
* ExactTimeToFailure: Subverted. Snake's watch reaches zero seconds after he demands the cure for the Plutoxin 7 virus. [[spoiler: Luckily, it turns out that Plutoxin 7 is just a fast, hard-hitting case of the flu.]]
* ExpandedStatesOfAmerica: UsefulNotes/{{Bangkok}}, UsefulNotes/{{Thailand}} (where Snake has been at some point between 1997 and 2013) is mentioned as being United States territory.
* ExpectingSomeoneTaller: A running joke with characters meeting Snake in the film.
* EyepatchOfPower: His picture is even displayed on the page of this trope.
* EyeScream: Snake ''very'' narrowly averts this. Since it happened to him [[EyepatchOfPower once already]], it would've been a real bummer.
* FanService: Snake's short, but memorable ShirtlessScene when he changes his clothes.
* FateWorseThanDeath: Deportation to LA is considered this, to the point that on-site executions are offered for those who would prefer death.
* ForcedPrizeFight: In a variation, Snake has to win a steel-cage basketball game in order to escape/ If he misses a shot or lets the shot clock run out, he gets shot to pieces.
* FourthWallPsych: "Welcome to the human race!"
* TheFundamentalist: The President, a mixture of UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan and Jerry Falwell, has turned America into a theocracy. For an added joke, he's played by a guy named Robertson.
* GambitRoulette: The ending of the film relies entirely on this. [[spoiler: Snake's hijacked helicopter takes a hit from Cuervo Jones's [[DesperationAttack hail-mary rocket]] that allows him to temporarily maintain flight instead of being blown out of the sky; he then uses the crash as a diversion. He plants a decoy mini-disk player on Utopia knowing she would be caught, it would be found, and would be thought the real Sword Of Damocles. Plus, while Snake's use of the holo-cam is rather ingenious, it is reliant on knowing his infection is completely benign and that no one will attempt to administer the antidote or otherwise touch his projection prior to TheReveal.]]
* AGodAmI: Implied with the President when he corrupts a Bible verse by putting himself in God's place.
* TheGunslinger: Snake has become a Type D in the intervening years.
* {{Hell}}: The opening narration refers to L.A. as an "island of the damned."
* HellBentForLeather: Snake's old worn out leather coat makes a return, until he trades up for a BadassLongcoat. In fact, during the opening incarceration shot, Snake's entire wardrobe makes a return since Russel informed Carpenter that he still had his original outfit from ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork'' hanging in his closet.
* HeroicNeutral: Snake, obviously.
* HistoricalBadassUpgrade: The real-life Shining Path has virtually no influence outside Peru while the Shining Path depicted in this film has conquered Latin America and preparing for an invasion of the US
* HostageMacGuffin: Snake Plissken is sent to rescue the president's daughter who [[HorribleJudgeOfCharacter voluntarily]] stole the codes to an EMP satellite to give to her terrorist paramour. Snake is sent to kill her, but can't bring himself to do it after she has a HeelFaceTurn, and brings her with him.
* HumanResources: The plastic surgery freaks, who must regularly kidnap prisoners and harvest them for body parts in order to keep themselves alive.
* IJustWantToBeFree: Arguably Snakes entire motivation. He just wants to get away and be left alone to his own devices.
* [[IHaveNoSon I Have No Daughter :]] The president made it clear that he disowned his daughter. In fact, he was annoyed that his daughter was alive, and [[OffingTheOffspring prompted to execute her.]]
* IllegalReligion: The new extreme right-wing President who takes over the United States outlaws all religions other than Christianity as well as atheism. It is punishable by death through deportation to the hellish, crime-ridden Los Angeles Penitentiary Island. Taslima, one of the inhabitants, tells Snake that she was an American Muslim before she was shipped off to L.A.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Snake and a few other instances in the movie.
* InsistentTerminology / DoNotCallMePaul: In both ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork'' and ''Escape from LA'', the U.S. government is on a LastNameBasis with protagonist Snake Plissken, to which he consistently replies, "Call me Snake". However, during the respective climaxes of both movies, when one of the government's men finally does call him Snake, he reverses his previous attitude with the reply "The name's Plissken".
* InTheBack: Subverted. A neo-Nazi skinhead attempts to throw a knife into Snake's back as he's walking away. Snake turns around and riddles him with bullets before continuing on his path.
* InvadedStatesOfAmerica: A united, [[DirtyCommunists Shining Path]]-led Latin America is on the verge of invading the US.
* IronicEcho: "Catches on quick doesn't s/he?"
* ItsAllAboutMe: Snake cannot be persuaded to give a shit about anything but his own interests. Considering there is [[BlackAndGrayMorality no particularly good side]] for him to be on, one can hardly blame him. This applies to the President, too.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold:
** Snake was more or less this since ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork''. However in this movie is a bit less anti-heroic as you would expect - it is shown when he spares The President's daughter's life when he had the order to kill her on sight. Although that may be equally due to Snake's utter contempt for the men who ordered him to do it.
** Despite being a high-ranking officer in an evil CulturePolice organization, Malloy still takes great care of his cacti.
* KillSat: The Sword of Damocles.
* LighterAndSofter: ''L.A.'' has little of the grittiness of ''New York'', and Snake is more of an ActionHero. [[SubvertedTrope Then again,]] ''[[SubvertedTrope L.A does]]'' [[SubvertedTrope a much bleaker ending]] where, instead of just trolling the president, Snake essentially [[spoiler:shuts down the earth's electricity supply, causing the deaths of billions. Something that Snake doesn't really seem to choked up about because he's even more pissed at the government than he was the first time.]]
* LockAndLoadMontage
* MadDoctor: The Surgeon General of Beverly Hills, a plastic surgery freak who regularly has people kidnapped, then dissects them so he can recycle their body parts for him and his brethren.
* MacGuffin: The controller, [[spoiler:which activates the "Sword Of Damocles" defense system, an EMP cannon designed to destroy enemy nation's weaponry]].
* MeaningfulName:
** The Sword of Damocles. It's an expression, based on an ancient anecdote, used to express an impending doom that can befall a person or, in the original tale, a tyrant, at any moment. [[spoiler: Snake drops the sword on ''everyone'' in the end]]
** Carjack is a transsexual and uses the name Hershe without a y on the end ("her" + "she").
* MexicoCalledTheyWantTexasBack: The Shining Path has taken over all of Latin America and is about to launch an invasion of the United States. They want a bit more than Texas...
* MissingMom: It is briefly mentioned that Utopia's mother committed suicide, causing her to become depressed and withdrawal into virtual reality, and making her vulnerable to the wiles of Cuervo Jones.
* ANaziByAnyOtherName: The US President, a politician who takes advantage of a depressed, war-torn country to attain absolute power, and then proceeds to eliminate any and all "undesirables" from his new regime. He even uses the term, "Final Solution", near the end.
* NeverBringAKnifeToAFistFight: The final battle between Snake and Cuervo has Cuervo use a knife against Snake.
* NinetiesAntiHero: Snake exemplifies this. He was even this [[Film/EscapeFromNewYork nine years before the nineties began]], making him an UrExample.
** There's an unusual reason for this. "Escape from L.A." was in development for ten years w/ a script commissioned in 1985. But then the project was shelved until the Northridge earthquake & L.A. riots revived interest, & filming began in 1995. But the fact that a delayed-sequel about an '80s anti-hero was in theaters just after ''Film/IndependenceDay'' was why it was a box office failure.
* NoodleIncident: Whatever happened in Cleveland.
* NotInThisForYourRevolution: Snake absolutely despises the authorities who literally have to coerce him into working for them with a tailor-made "kill you in 10 hours" virus in his body or he'd just bail on them in a heartbeat.
* NumberOfTheBeast: "666" is the world code for the controller for the Sword of Damocles.
* OhCrap: Snake, upon realizing that the cut on his hand he received in the hall infected him with the Plutoxin-7 virus.
** [[spoiler:And to a even bigger extent when the government officers realize that Snake confronted them via holocam, meaning that he could be ''anywhere'' within a half-mile radius, has the real remote for the Sword of Damocles, knows the world code, and was in full-blown NinetiesAntiHero mode ''before'' they sent him into LA at gunpoint. They get a long minute to realize that their world's about to end and there's not a damn thing they can do to stop it.]]
* OnlySaneMan: Snake appears like this, especially at the end.
* OppressiveStatesOfAmerica: While ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork'' was set in a crime-ridden FallenStatesOfAmerica setting, this movie turns America into a full-on PoliceState.
* PoliticallyIncorrectHero: Snake [[spoiler: persists in calling the transgender Hershe her old (male) name of "Carjack" despite Hershe's insistence otherwise.]]
* PresidentEvil: Hoo, boy.
* ThePurge: In the opening narration, it's stated that the President's first act is Directive 17: Americans who are found "unfit" to live in the new, "moral" America are stripped of their citizenship and deported to L.A. Don't want to go? There's always the electric chair.
* TheQuincyPunk: Virtually every character encountered on L.A. Island.
* RaceAgainstTheClock: Similar to the first film of the series, Snake has a limited amount of time to complete his mission, due to [[spoiler: the Plutoxin 7 virus he's been infected with.]] He is given a wrist-timer, conveniently large for the audience, indicating how much time he has left before total failure.
* ReligiousAndMythologicalThemeNaming: The Sword of Damocles
* SacrificialLamb: [[spoiler:Taslima]]'s character starts out by looking like [[spoiler:Snake]]'s potential love interest and moral guidance. [[spoiler:She gets shot in the back]] quite suddenly for no particular reason -- other than showing just how bleak the future is.
* SameStoryDifferentNames: EscapeFromLA is basically an act-for-act rehash of EscapeFromNewYork, even down to some very unlikely coincidences for Snake, such as his meeting a sympathetic female character that happens to die shortly after they meet, being forced to compete in a DeadlyGame for his freedom, or the person that helps him escape the prison being someone he worked with before, and also someone that double-crossed him ''and'' is going by another identity, complete with InsistentTerminology regarding their new name. It even has the same ending, wherein Snake uses the MacGuffin to double-cross the BigBad after his ExactTimeToFailure is rendered moot.
* SinisterMinister: The US President is part this and part PresidentEvil.
* SleevesAreForWimps: Once again, Snake (at least when he isn't wearing his BadassLongcoat).
* StateSec: The ''United States Police Force'', who despite their name is well armed and equipped.
* StrappedToAnOperatingTable: The plastic surgery freaks ''really'' want Snake's body...
* StrawCharacter: Played on both ends, as Snake finds himself in the middle of a presidential KnightTemplar in control of a national, overly-militarized police force and a WellIntentionedExtremist uniting terrorists against him. The former is a little less straw-y in hindsight, as modern law enforcement has been criticized in recent years for being [[LifeImitatesArt overly militarized]].
* TakeAThirdOption: [[spoiler:Rather than side with a fascist theocracy and an equally brutal communist insurgency, Snake shuts off the entire world.]]
* TakingYouWithMe: [[spoiler:Cuervo is about to shoot the chopper that Snake, Hershe, Eddie, and Utopia are escaping in with a rocket. He gets shot by Eddie but still manages to get the rocket off before dying.]]
* TheTheocracy: The PresidentEvil turns the United States into a virtual theocracy. He makes Christianity mandatory across the country and religious heterodoxy punishable by death, all while enforcing a set of new moral laws for the "new America".
* ThoseWackyNazis: When Snake is looking for the original soldier sent into Los Angeles to retrieve the Sword of Damocles, he runs into a bunch of Neo-Nazis using the guy's corpse for target practice. When they try to kill Snake over an insult, he shoots one of them with his machine gun, looking nearly bored.
* TitleDrop: During the opening narration.
--> The United States Police Force, like an army, is encamped along the shoreline, making any escape from L.A. impossible.
* TooAwesomeToUse: Snake's revolvers. In the two scenes where he demands them back (being sent into L.A. and escaping from the Surgeon General of Beverly Hills), he is carrying other guns (The Coreburner issued to him by the government and the Colt 1911 he takes from the Surgeon General), which he resorts to using first. Even after losing the Coreburner, he divests a mook of his shotgun and uses that. He only gets to use his revolvers once, showing off his ImprobableAimingSkills, and loses them when captured.
* TooDumbToLive: The bald knife thrower attempts to throw a knife at Snake when he walks away from him. [[MoreDakka Yeah, good look with that.]]
* TakeAThirdOption: Faced with the world being just moments from a clash between fascistic fundamentalists and equally violent terrorists, Snake smugly [[spoiler:uses the Sword of Damocles [=EMP=] satellite network to shut down ''the entire planet,'' returning the entire mess to a clean slate.]]
* TookALevelInBadass: Snake since ''Film/EscapeFromNewYork''. In that film, he was an ex-Green Beret with pretty decent combat skills. In this one, he's able to achieve [[TheGunslinger Man With No Name style quickdrawing]], shoot rifles and shotguns [[FiringOneHanded one handed]] from a motorcycle with no significant effects from recoil, take a round to the leg from a [[HandCannon Desert Eagle]] and still walk with [[OnlyAFleshWound only a limp]]. This while being infected with the Plutoxin 7 virus (granted, it turns out to be [[spoiler: the flu]], but still).
* {{Transsexual}}: [[spoiler:Carjack Malone/Hershe Las Palmas.]]
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: Carried over from the first film.
* UncannyValley: This is invoked by the plastic surgery addicts, and it is [[IntendedAudienceReaction intentional]] though. Especially creepy is the Surgeon General of Beverly Hills (a {{cameo}} by Creator/BruceCampbell).
* UsedFuture: But only in LA.
* WhatBeautifulEyes: The Surgeon General of Beverly Hills is simply ''mesmerized'' by Snake's eye...
* YouHaveGotToBeKiddingMe: "Map To The Stars" Eddie's reaction upon seeing Snake following him on the tsunami.

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