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Headscratchers / Escape from New York

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  • Why does the Duke want to leave the city? He's a local warlord who literally has everyone practically worshiping him. Getting amnesty and returning to the mainland would certainly just make him another random criminal.
    • Because warlord or not, he's still in prison. And a pretty shitty, post-apocalyptic war-zone prison at that. Is it really that mysterious why he possibly might not like it there very much and might just want to get out of there? Most prisoners don't actually like being in prison no matter how much power they manage to accumulate while inside, that's kind of the whole point of prison.
    • And plus, if he should happen to get out, he's still the warlord who managed to completely rule the inside of the most terrifying prison in this society before breaking out of it. If nothing else, that gives him a reputation as being a pretty damn tough and terrifying criminal to begin with; that already makes him far more than just another random criminal. I mean look at it this way — if Al Capone had managed to break out of prison, he'd still have been Al Capone.
      • But Al Capone was released from prison part way into his sentence.
      • Well, okay, it's not a perfect example, but the point is that he doesn't automatically stop being a pretty big deal once he gets out of prison. He's the warlord who ruled the worst prison the United States has ever seen, it's not like people are going to completely forget about that. He's still far more than just another 'random' criminal just like Al Capone was known as far more than just a 'random' criminal even when he was in prison.
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    • The prison's resources are limited inside. He only has power inside of the prison, but it's still limited. There is nothing keeping the government from wiping all of them out. The prisoners do not have access to resources from outside of the prison, which includes any trade from outside countries. And, like anyone in power, they want more power, which is a common theme between the Duke and the President: both are authorities in power, but clearly aren't as pleased with the power they have. Considering the film was made in a post-Nixon era, it makes sense that those in authority would be perceived as power hungry (and yes, even if Snake had given the president the correct tape, it would have stopped a war. But that's the thing: A war. One war. There wouldn't have been anything to keep another war from occurring anyway. War is one of the tools used to control those under an totalitarian state. Look at 1984 as a great example, as not only were they suppressing the people, they were using a war as a part of their tools to suppress the people. The same is true with the government within the film). Essentially, absolute power corrupts absolutely. And the Duke wanted out of the prisoner he was in because he wanted more power than he could get within the walls of the prison.
  • Snake is given a 24-hour time limit to retrieve the President. Going by the time frame the movie implies, he would have landed in New York very early in the morning (12 a.m.-6 a.m.). He tries to get the President, gets captured by the Duke and is knocked unconscious. A few scenes later in the film, it is now daybreak; the briefcase the President was holding was retrieved by the military, who flew in by helicopter. When Snake defeats the brute, escapes the Duke and goes to retrieve the President, it is now night time. How long was Snake out for?
    • It's reasonable to assume the total time (not the 24-hour elapsed time in the film) that Snake spends finding the President and escaping would be anywhere between 4-8 hours. Even with Snake's capture, the escape could have happened during the day. It's assumed the second nightfall and race against the clock are in there for dramatic effect.
    • Also, Snake wasn't given a full 24 hours to begin with. When he gets the timer, Hawke states that he has twenty-two hours, twenty-nine minutes, fifty-seven seconds before Snake interjects with "we talked about twenty-four." The reason for the two hour shortage was due to how long the Hartford Summit had left.
  • Why didn't the government have a backup copy of that tape? Why was it even a fracking audio tape in the first place, why wasn't it written down?
    • Because of the no backups rule.
    • Look at the year the movie was made, magnetic storage was all the rage back then, a single cassette tape could hold way much more data and be more portable than say, a hard drive. There were no gigabytes back then, solid state storage was light years away, flash memory hadn't been invented yet either; and it would had been ridiculous to store important prototype data in a floppy disk that was more prone to get damaged/accidentally erased. A tape was cutting-edge technology at the time; and they didn't have the notion, nor could they imagine that just ten years down the road, people would have computers 50 times more powerful literally in the palm of their hands.
      • While it's true that cassette tapes were once used as digital storage media, Snake plays part of the president's tape in the cab and it's just some guy (arguably a scientist) talking.
      • It's possible that the tape wasn't the only copy, just the copy the President was bringing to the peace conference.
      • No, Snake even suggests they get a new president and forget about that one. They say they need this guy and his briefcase. It's not like they couldn't send the VP instead. Also, I was under the impression that it was an invention of some sort of clean power generation (possibly, cold fusion) that would help ease the world's problems.
      • I think it was a superbomb. What we hear of the scientist talking is that an isotope iodine is far more effective than Tritium at... something, and Tritium is used as the equivalent of an accelerant to a nuke. It was probably saying that the aforementioned iodine isotope makes a nuke go boom much, much bigger than tritium does.
      • Then why reveal the secret to the world? Why not hold on to it to maintain superiority?
      • They specifically state it's for nuclear fusion, and considering it is a peace summit it is obviously meant to be used as a power source.
      • The impression I got was that revealing it was intended as a threat: we've got the capability for a new and improved H-bomb; make peace with us now or else....
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    • Never mind the freakin' tape; if all that it contains is a recording of a scientist explaining what this new technology (power source or superbomb) can do, then why can't the spokesman for the U.S. - President or not - simply call up that scientist on the phone and have him recount the same information live on speakerphone...?
      • That's assuming the scientist is still alive. For all we know, the scientist may be dead off-screen, and the tape is the only recording left of him and his knowledge.
  • Why didn't they eject the President before even reaching New York, and save themselves a lot of trouble? (Apart from the obvious reason...)
    • I assumed offscreen storytelling. One of the members of Secret Service mentions they're not able to get past the door to the cockpit in time (before they crash). I assume the terrorist group that hijacked the plane put up a fight before hand. By the time they were beaten it was too late.
    • Because the plane was approaching over the water, and the President would have drowned.
    • It's not an escape pod; it's a survival pod. It doesn't eject from the plane. It just protects the occupant so that he survives the crash.
  • Why does the President of the United States have a clear British accent?
    • It is possible that the child of a diplomat could fulfill all the Constitutional requirements (natural born citizen, fourteen-year permanent resident, over 35) and still have a foreign accent, due to having been raised outside the U.S. during their accent-formative years, ages 10-17.
    • It doesn't matter where he's raised, just who he's raised by. One of my high school friends spoke with a distinct British accent, despite having been born and raised in the U.S. Both of her parents were immigrants from the U.K., and she got the accent from them. (For that matter, most people say I have a midwestern U.S. accent, even though I have spent my entire life in the South. This is probably because my mother was born in Kansas City.)
    • Because he's evil. Duh.
    • Evidently Donald Pleasence came up with a background story for his character explaining this, but John Carpenter nixed the idea of including it in the film. I would have liked to hear it..
      • As would I. As for myself, I think of him as probably having had the accent for the same reason as General Zevo in Toys: that his parents paid to send him to an expensive, top notch military school where he was taught a "proper" English accent (quite possibly by English people, and even in England), and he never really was able to shake the voice convincingly in later years, so he learned to just go ahead and talk with it lest he sound like he was just affecting the accent of his own native country, which would be worse than sounding like he was just from another country. Pleasance's character does seem like he probably comes from a pampered background and it helps to remember that most American presidents do have some former military experience so probably some of them went to military school.
    • For all we know, the film's historical timeline diverges so much from ours that the UK suffered disasters of its own, its government collapsed, and whatever was left was annexed by the United States. It's a weird freakin' future.
      • More to the point, they could have simply amended the Constitution so that you no longer have to be a natural-born citizen to be president.
    • Well, he doesn't, exactly; if you listen to Pleasance's speech patterns in the movie he is definitely attempting a Southern US accent, but he slips up a whole lot.
    • I read somewhere in a magazine a long time ago that Donald Pleasance was very impressed with John Carpenter’s talent and professionalism while working with him on Halloween and wanted to work on another project (not just the Halloween sequel) with him again. This was Carpenter’s next major project and he felt the role of President was the most appropriate one for him. So the fact that’s he’s English is just ignored. It actually makes it kind of heartwarming that an actor of Donald Pleasance’s status was so impressed with an Indie filmmaker known for B-Movie homages.
  • First off, why the hell would air force 1 fly over the most dangerous maximum security prison in the world? Second, if these hijackers were smart, they wouldn't of just revealed what the hell they were doing over the mainland, they would do it over the sea.
    • Well, as Air Force One was hijacked, we can assume that it wasn't supposed to fly over Manhattan but the hijackers diverted it there once they'd gained control. Witness how shocked Hauk et al are that Air Force One is in their airspace.
    • I get the feeling from the rant that the female hijacker announces over the radio and the overall way that everyone else on the plane is acting that the hijacking was more of a murder-suicide mission than a kidnapping; "Let's make a statement by hijacking Air Force One and crashing it into the largest and most dangerous prison in the world, thus killing the President in the most prominent symbol of his oppressive neo-fascist government!" being the most likely form of logic used by the terrorists. Revealing what they're doing just before they crash allows them to make the statement whilst minimizing the opportunities for the authorities to somehow intervene and stop them. As for location, the plane probably wasn't supposed to be anywhere near the prison airspace, but the terrorists diverted it there.
  • Take a VERY large city with the most prime real estate in the world, then just lock it off as a maximum security prison, wasting billions of dollars worth of buildings and infrastructure. Riiiiiight.... Then do it on the other side of the country a few years later. What, does this alternate-reality culture found cities just to turn them into prisons some day?
    • It is stated in-movie that the renegades/original inmates were so dangerous that it was easier to lock Manhattan and barricade it, than to spend money building a large enough facility to contain them, after arresting them and transport them of course. Think of a 9-11 scenario where the terrorists (conspiracy theory aside) manage to press the attack and seize the city or a large portion of it. The movie's government literally told the population to go screw themselves and every man for himself. About the state value, what good is it if it's crime ridden and unchecked?
    • New York in 1981 was MUCH different than the city we know today. Movies like Death Wish and The Warriors were disturbingly accurate in showing life in the city at the time. Almost anyone with money had fled to the suburbs. Infrastructure was completely decayed, crime and vandalism were everywhere. The city had declared bankruptcy in the late 70’s and the federal government had refused to bail the city out causing then Mayor Ed Koch to declare “America has given up on New York.” So while the premise is far-fetched. It wasn’t inconceivable that the entire city would eventually be abandoned.
    • Besides Manhattan actually makes for an ideal prison. After all it’s an island and easily contained, it can accommodate over a million residents, even Central park could be used for farming if the inmates were so inclined.
      • Furthermore, the Novelization delves even deeper: The United States was hit with a massive nerve gas attack by the Soviet Union, and New York was hit especially hard. As a result, it was subsequently declared uninhabitable, and the government decided to turn it into a prison.
    • Also, Escape from L.A. *doesn't* happen a few years later. It's more of a remake. The two stories don't coincide in the same timeline, they're alternate versions of each other.
      • For the sequel, California suffers "The Big One", an earthquake so vicious that it effectively turns California into a new island, and everybody is left for dead. Also remember that in this new reality, USA is no longer the most powerful nation of the world, and the whole planet is depicted as a chaotic place to live in anyways; there are no help funds, the UN either doesn't exist or its just another bureaucratic figurehead with little power and influence; why would the US bother to save California in the first place?
      • How do you figure? Despite Snake wearing the same clothes and all, it's supposed to be 16 years after Escape From New York. Cuervo Jones explicitly mentions Snake having "escaped from New York." But considering that's it's almost the same movie, with most of the same situations and plot points, it's not an unreasonable position to take.
      • Actually it is an unreasonable position to take, as they are clearly in the same timeline. They mention his previous mission several times in the movie. They even reference his switcheroo at the ending. To claim they are two separate timelines you have to ignore the ample evidence that they aren't, which just makes it a dumb excuse used by those who didn't actually like the sequel.
    • Considering that in Escape from L.A. the president had basically run on a platform of prophesying the destruction of LA, saying the city was an example of everything wrong with America. When his prediction proved true and he won, it would only be natural to take the opportunity to declare LA no longer part of the country, now that it physically wasn't anyway. No point rebuilding someplace you campaigned on hating after all. Also LA wasn't exactly a prison. People could leave if they wanted to - they just couldn't go back to America.
      • Umm, Alaska and Hawaii aren't physically connected to mainland US, but they're still states. And why would the Congress and the states ratify a Constitutional amendment to turn America into a fundamentalist dictatorship? As far as the guy predicting the earthquake, there are people standing on the streets screaming the end of the world is nigh. He just got lucky. Or caused it in the first place. They do have EMP Kill Sats, so why not something that cause an earthquake? Religious fanatics aren't exactly known for their concern for their fellow man.
    • Sort of a Society Marches On: Manhattan was a crime-ridden hellhole and rapidly falling into complete anarchy at the time the movie was released, as were the other boroughs. Everyone who could afford to had moved out into suburbs. It was entirely plausible to audiences of the day that things really could get this bad (also see The Warriors), and the idea that ten years later New York would completely turn around and retake the title of a financial and cultural center of the world was fairly preposterous to most.
    • In addition to the above, it's part of the satire of the movies; Carpenter's using the sci-fi conceit of the films to in part make a comment on the world he was living in, which as others said was one where political corruption and extremism, increasing crime levels, urban gang warfare and ghettoization were major concerns, both in New York (the late seventies / early eighties) and Los Angeles (the nineties). The prison / sealed off from the mainland scenarios are conceits that enable Carpenter to show what happens when you turn these problems Up to Eleven. Another reason is, essentially, Rule of Cool.
    • In addition, Anthropic Principle: it has to happen otherwise there's no story. John Carpenter wanted to make an action-thriller about someone forced to enter an entire city (specifically New York/Los Angeles) that had been turned into a prison. In order to be able to tell his story, however, something has to happen that facilitates New York/Los Angeles ending up being such a shithole that it basically is only good for being a prison. You're not supposed to construct an in-depth and completely airtight explanation incorporating the real-world logistics, economics and mechanics of city management, though, at some point you just gotta relax and go with it.
    • The Escape from New York comic series delves a bit more into this — the world is on a slow slope into the gutter, with society, infrastructure and basic services sliding backwards into a New Old West vibe. Several cities are either shown to be destroyed/separated from the U.S. (Pennsylvania is suggested as having been destroyed, via the Shout-Out opening image representing its place in the "snake" logo, much of downtown Cleveland is destroyed during the final arc, Florida is outright separated from the country by nuclear detonations), and Snake visits several areas that are either completely devoid of people or resemble a Western town. If the situation is so bad that entire parts of the country are functionally unusable, it isn't a stretch to think that a single city (even a big one) could be walled off and used as a maximum-security prison.
  • Premarital sex is illegal, according to Escape from L.A.. So... Do boatloads of teenagers go to jail in this version of the US for doing something that's perfectly natural? Or does everybody buy the government's abstinence program? As far as no smoking, drinking, or red meat-eating, that just means a bigger black market for this stuff. Apparently, Prohibition hasn't taught anyone anything.
    • Premarital sex isn't illegal UNTIL Escape From LA as clearly shown in that film (the plethora of moral laws weren't put in place until the US became basically a theocracy under the new President). To answer your question, yes, boatloads of teens get arrested and deported as you can see in the beginning of Escape From LA.
    • And let's be honest, here; fundamentalist Christians, like most religious fanatics, aren't exactly known for letting logic get in the way of their ideology. Basically, God (according to them) wants this stuff banned, so it's banned. You don't like it, tough, you're a sinner and you're going to hell (and jail).
    • There's another way to look at that: it's only illegal if you get caught. Presumably yes, a lot of hormone-addled teens are getting caught and turned in, but presumably a lot of parents are covering for their kids.
    • Considering it's a John Carpenter movie, it's either "go to jail" or "be killed by Michael Myers"
  • Could we blame Snake for the state of the world in the second film? After all, the President in the first film had a chance to make things better, only for Snake to screw it up.
    • I don't think that Snake can really be blamed. I think the blame falls on all the people who voted for the President in the second film.
    • Also, the President didn't care about the people who died getting him out. I doubt that someone so ungrateful could make things better.
      • How are those two things even remotely connected?
    • The tape from the first film didn't contain the means to make the world better, it contained the means to make even bigger nukes and browbeat the rest of the world into submission.
      • No, it didn't. It is pretty obvious the tape held plans for a new power source. It is stated in the movie that the tape contains the secrets to nuclear fusion, the summit it is being shown at is a peace summit to end the war, and the ones at the summit are the biggest enemies of the US (enemies that that have killed millions of it's people). Why would the President share the plans for a new bomb to his country's biggest enemies (let alone do so at a PEACE summit), and how exactly could he hope to use said plans to control the rest of the world after handing them over to said enemies?
      • The tape didn't necessarily reveal how to build a super-fusion bomb; it could've merely been a report on how powerful the resulting explosions were. Presumably the plan was to have the tape played at the "peace" conference, then set off a test detonation in the Nevada desert so the Soviet and Chinese satellites could observe the blast and leave Moscow and Beijing crapping their pants. The tape was meant to clarify that, yes, that really was one bomb, not a bunch of them.
    • Even if we can, given Snake's fundamental character by that point, I'm not sure he'd give two solid fucks whether we blamed him or not, so in that sense it's irrelevant, really.
    • The President didn't exist in a vacuum, the world is in the state it is because of the collective effort/apathy of everyone living in it. It's pointed out more specifically in the sequel when Snake more or less just states that the world isn't worth saving because humanity has had ample opportunity to pull back from the brink yet just kept doing the same shit. Dystopian regimes don't just rely on the leader, there's literally thousands of people who could have blown his brains out at any time, but didn't lift a finger to stop him.
  • Am I the only one who thinks it was kind of a dick move on Snake's part to destroy the tape just because he didn't like the President's attitude? Yeah, he's a lying Jerkass, but he's also a politician; would you expect anything else? And of course there's the much bigger question of Was It Really Worth It? Hooray, we taught a selfish gasbag a lesson... and kept the world in a nuclear-induced Dark Age.
    • That's kind of the point; Snake's a cynical and nihilistic Anti-Hero who doesn't really care about anything except being left alone at this point. As far as he's concerned, the rest of the world can get fucked. No one ever said he was a nice, caring guy.
    • I think the biggest reason for the complaints (and it took me a while to come to this conclusion myself) isn't that he didn't say much, it's that he was more interested in getting shaved and the whole "Oh sorry Snake, but I got a conference I have to do." His tone at answering and then pretty much ignoring Snake makes it seem like he's blowing him off and didn't really care about the lives of people who really didn't HAVE to stick their necks out so far to help him. Snakes view was "The conference can wait five more minutes while you address a couple heroes. Or hell talk about how prisoners went out of their way to make sure this conference happened."
    • Except that making sure the President was rescued in time for the conference was the entire point of the movie. He's in a rush to make sure Russia and China don't bomb the country, so he probably hasn't had time to process what these deaths actually mean in the grand scheme of things (especially since he didn't know them as long as Snake had, so to him, these are just random people that died). Also, his Sanity Slippage earlier with Duke shows that this whole experience has obviously traumatized him, so he should probably be cut a little bit of slack (hell, Snake is actually being a bit of a hypocrite; he remarks that he's understandably too tired to kill Hauk, but Snake has been trained both physically and psychologically to deal with high-stress situations, not to mention he didn't have his goddamn finger cut off).
    • Thing is, even if we allow all those things... a couple of minutes and some genuine, heartfelt thanks to the people who literally saved his life aren't that much to ask at all. In fact, they're the bare minimum of someone who has literally just had his life saved. Snake isn't asking him to burst into tears or rend his garments or cancel the summit just to pour his heart out, he's just looking for a minute's honesty, some heartfelt compassion to the fallen, genuine appreciation of those who gave everything for his life, an indication that his experiences genuinely have affected him in some way. Heck, even some signs that he's traumatised would be a sign that what he's been through has affected him in some way. In short, some signs that underneath all the politics this guy actually is a sincere, genuine human being. And he doesn't get it. All he gets is some bullshit politico talk, vague non-promises, and a brush-off. Traumatised or not, as far as Snake is concerned, the guy's just an empty phony.
    • Also, Snake's remark to Hauk isn't hypocrisy, it's just a quip to allow him to save face over the fact that he's in no position to fulfil his threat to kill Hauk and both of them know it. He's literally just got his freedom back, he's not gonna blow it by murdering the police commissioner when he's basically surrounded by all the commissioner's men. The man's an Anti-Hero, he's not a psycho without common sense or impulse control. It was and is an empty threat, both of them know it, but Hauk despite everything simply respects Snake sufficiently to not call him on it.
  • Why would the wall around Manhattan be built on the opposite shoreline, rather than at the edge of the island itself? By walling off part of the river, the government's forfeiting all use of the Hudson for shipping between New York State and the Atlantic.
    • Presumably, this is why all the bridges are mined.
    • A bridgehead on the island side, in contact with the prisoners, would be costly to defend. The near shore of any bridge or body of water is easy to defend. The tactical deployment felt right to me. Is it worth losing the shipping lane? :shrug:
    • If New York City is bad enough to be converted into a maximum security prison, then chances are New York State isn't faring much better. There's probably not enough business or industry left along the Hudson to make it worth keeping the shipping lanes open. Especially since I'd wager the majority of shipping along the Hudson would rely on New York City being a source or destination.
  • Water and sewage. The film sort of implies that all services have been cut off, except for some kind of periodic "food drops" to keep the inmates alive. The streets are littered with trash but they aren't piled high with human feces, yet there's no sign of any maintenance workers to keep the plumbing going. It would be a long walk to the where do they go to "go"?
    • The best answer may be that this is one of those movies that works best if you don't think too hard about it. Prison NYC is a setting for an adventure, not a well-built "world."
    • Well, they've managed to get power in some sections, other services might be possible.
    • Crowbar plus manhole cover = instant latrine? Or place to empty our chamberpots.
  • Cabbie's 'New York Yellow Cab' taxi is right-hand drive. In America. Is this normal for New York taxis? All the other cars seen are clearly left-hand drive.
    • I dunno about normal, but Cabbie's ride has clearly been jury-rigged, salvaged, rebuilt and modified many times by the events of the movie, so it's an easy enough Hand Wave to suggest that at some point the drive somehow shifted from left to right.
    • Cabbie's taxi was left hand drive. It's evident at many points the steering wheel is on the left, such as when Cabbie throws the Molotov cocktail at the Crazies and when Snake tells him to move over so Snake can drive them over the bridge.
  • Why do the prisoners all seem to live on ground level or underground, when they've got a city full of high-rises and skyscrapers all to themselves? Looking at the state of New York in the film, it certainly looks like the civilians abandoned it in a big hurry, so the hotels and apartment buildings are likely to still have beds and furniture inside of them, and even the office spaces would provide much more hospitable living conditions than a life on the streets.
    • There might be lots of people living higher up that we simply don't see because the film is mostly set on the ground. Why would Snake start running up flights of stairs in a skyscraper he has no reason to suspect the President is located? Assuming that there really isn't anyone living very high up, it's probably because there aren't any elevators. Why climb an extra 20 flights of stairs every time you want to go home when you don't need to? Seems like a great way to waste energy in a place where food is scarce.
    • It's like in Batman: Arkham City, where people are sleeping on the streets or in shacks even though there's a ton of intact buildings around.
    • A lot of those buildings are also neglected, crumbling ruins which have probably been wrecked from the inside by uncountable hordes of violent goons over the years. They might look okay from the outside, but even if they haven't been gutted on the inside, sleeping on the floor or on the street means that you don't risk getting caught in the debris if the structure decides to come tumbling down one day.
    • The film makes it clear that the infrastructure in New York is rotting, to put it mildly. What we see of the World Trade Center shows that it has been repeatedly defaced and ripped apart, to such an extent that it doesn't look habitable. The only reason why no one went up on the roof is because it wasn't originally accessible, and a deleted sequence from the film would have shown the group of insane residents living on the ground floor of the WTC — they don't find out/target the Gullfire on the roof until Brain, Maggie and the President make their way back there. Had Carpenter's plans for a certain sequence in Escape from L.A. come to fruition, more individuals living in high-rise buildings, including a homeless family eating dinner in a skyscraper and a woman dancing on top of one of the buildings, would have been shown.
  • If they turned Manhattan into a prison, why didn't they just blow up the bridges instead of mine them?
    • It would give prisoners hope (albeit false hope) with the bridges there.
    • They might want to use the bridges again in the future. Maybe after the crime rate declines, the administration might want to go in and "clean house" (the US has become a totalitarian state and they might not think twice about just killing all the prisoners to get the city back), and the city would be easier to get to with bridges.
    • In the novelization, the city was originally abandoned because a massive nerve-gas attack made it too toxic to expect anyone to live in willingly. The gas residue presumably won't last forever; give it a few decades for weather and time to get rid of it, and they'll want to re-claim the place.
    • Also, if there was an emergency (such as a particularly massive uprising) that was threatening to spill over to the mainland and the United States Police Force needed to get into the island en masse to deal with it quickly, then it'd be easier and quicker to ferry a large force across the bridges and through the tunnels than just relying solely on an air or naval assault. They'd know where the mines were so that wouldn't be as much of a problem and could push the ruined cars aside with tanks and heavy vehicles, but if they'd blown the bridges / tunnels they wouldn't be able to get in.
    • Simple answer: They probably still use some of the bridges and/or tunnels to send inmates into the prison in the first place. Easier than putting them on a boat or dropping them out of a plane; just kick them out of a door and they can walk into the city.
  • Minor nitpick, but how did the President's escape-pod drop thousands of feet and crash through a brick building, yet wind up perfectly upright?
    • It's probably designed to do just that.
    • Or, since the hatch was on top, the prisoners turned it upright when they found it to get it open.
    • Basic physics. The pod is IIRC not perfectly spherical (if memory serves it's actually vaguely egg shaped) and the weight inside will not be evenly distributed. It will be heavier on the bottom than the top; both because the weight of the chair, the person sitting in it and so on will be focussed towards the bottom rather than the top, and likely because there will probably be extra weighting positioned there, or at least it'll be designed to ensure this particular distribution of weight. As a result, when it's falling the air-resistance and gravitation pull means that the heavier side is going to pulled to the ground before the lighter side. So it's likely going to land heavy-side first to begin with, but even if it didn't, when the pod reaches a (relatively) smooth surface, it will roll so that the heavier side of the pod ends up closer to the ground than the lighter side.
  • When the pulse radar is being put on the President, his security staff / cabinet member / whatever specifically says "Should you be separated from the escape pod", which to me makes it seem like that shouldn't be an easy task. So how the hell did the prisoners get the escape pod open? Was it really as easy as opening a latch from the outside, or did they trick POTUS into opening it a la Land Shark?
    • There's no reason to assume opening an escape pod would be difficult, and there's nothing in "should you be separated" that implies so, any more than you would assume that it's difficult to get separated from a tour group because the leader said, "should you be separated..." In fact, that they're specifically addressing what to do if he's separated implies that it's not something extremely difficult or otherwise unlikely.
    • Hell, if it's expected to survive a plane crash, then odds are good the occupant would need to separate himself from the pod as soon as it reached the ground, or risk getting roasted alive inside it. Plane crashes tend to have incendiary consequences.
    • It's a reinforced pod made to survive the crash, not like a pod that ejects and flies off somewhere, that's why it's right next to the crashed jet when they find it. There is no real reason to presume it would be difficult, or impossible, to open from the outside, as rescue workers would presumably want to get in quickly.
    • The designers wouldn't want the thing to require the President to unlatch it from inside, because it's only meant to be used in an extreme crisis. For all they knew, he might be badly injured or unconscious when the Secret Service shoved him into the pod, unable to open the door to his rescuers when help arrived.


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