Screengrab: Say Hello to Snake Plissken

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RICHARD LUTZ points  you to the movies that  you just can’t miss on the box this week

A hero called Snake Plissken? Movie directed by horror king John Carpenter? With Lee Van Cleef,  Kurt Russell (as  Snake) , Ernest Borgnine, Harry Dean Stanton, Isaac Hayes and even creepy Donald Pleasence?

Well, with these charming ingredients, something must be right about Escape from New York (Fri; 21.00; ITV4). Written in 1981, it  imagines a 1997 crazy world where Manhattan is a maximum security prison. Creepy old Don is the US prez and his Air Force One  crash lands into a  nightmare world of The Big Apple gone bad . Only one guy can get him out: convicted  bank robber, the one eyed  Snake Plissken.

It’s a real romp. Not only does it take Snake to save President Pleasence (nice ring to that name) but our hero has a timebomb implanted in him in case he fails.

There, is that enough manic  logic for you? Because that is where logic ends and the fun begins. Snake has to not  only save the president and retrieve a vital tape cassette of info (that’s how old the movie is) but has to take on The Duke Of New York, ultimo baddie Isaac Hayes- who is a cool crime boss here before he was re-incarnated as the even cooler  Chef in The Simpsons.

Kurt Russell is great as Snake: tough,  funny and good to look at in a kind of late seventies kind of way. He reprised the role  in the inevitable sequel,  Escape from LA. The model used for the New York skyline was re used for the best sci fi film ever, Bladerunner- which is credentials enough for a production team which included a young James Cameron who went on to  make mega- films such as Avatar.