Escape from L.A. – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Escape from L.A.

Along with Steven Spielberg and Richard Donner, John Carpenter has helped shape my childhood with movies like Halloween and Big Trouble in Little China. Yet, like the previously mentioned directors, they have their classics and duds. Unfortunately, Escape from L.A. is the latter. At first, it didn’t start that way. The film begins similarly to Escape from New York with Snake Plissken captured and coerced to go on a special ops mission inside a confined Manhattan. This time around, Los Angeles is now the maximum-security prison.

Ironically, when he finally lands in L.A., things start to go downhill. Action scenes are few and far between, and it’s not that exciting either. Most of its runtime is devoted to Snake individually meeting side characters that serve no purpose other than to move the story along. Unfortunately, as their dramatic use is up, they are never seen again in the film. Despite its issues, there is some impressive satire in the movie. Of course, when the movie came out in 1996, I wasn’t aware of all of the mockery at the time. However, as the years go on and being from L.A., I see a lot of the parody. Not to mention, the outrageous location designs comparably aid the style, as Snake treks through a highly visual post-apocalyptic wasteland of Los Angeles. 

Overall, Escape From L.A. tries to cram an abundance of clashing concepts into a single film. As a result, a ridiculous amount of implausible and poorly conceived CG, performances, and stunt work make their way into the picture. In the movie, everyone has their preconceptions on who Snake is, and to their surprise, Snake is not who they expected him to be. In a way, the same thing applies here. Most people have their preconceptions on what a sequel to Escape from New York would be like. It’s just a shame that the movie is not what people expect.

Movie Rating: 2.5/5 atoms

Escape from L.A. - Stacy Keach, Michelle Forbes, and Cliff Robertson


Escape from L.A. hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Vision/HDR10 transfer and a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Whatever you thought of the film, you have to admit that Dolby Vision is the best thing to happen to Escape from L.A. A lot (if not all) of the film takes place at night, so those improved blacks greatly overshadow their 1080p SDR counterparts. Yet even at night, Dolby Vision is able to balance between light and darkness and the pinpoint accuracy. Also, the whites are no longer that creamy white, and the colors look exquisitely full and rich. 

Detail clarity is solid—clearly showcasing much of the finer picture details. Unfortunately, it also highlights the dated and genuinely pretty terrible CGI effects. The video transfer also maintains a healthy grain texture—better than the uneven and blocky look of the 2010 edition. They also did a thorough clean-up to remove mild print blemishes. This Ultra HD release is easily the best possible release of Escape from L.A. and probably looks even better now than it did in theaters about a quarter of a century ago. So, if you’re a fan of the film, then this is a highly recommended upgrade.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Escape from L.A. - Kurt Russell and Pam Grier


Escape from L.A. hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Although we may not get a Dolby Atmos track with this 4K release, the 5.1 DTS mix is still a very active one. Yet, there’s a weird error with the dialog bleeding into the surround sound channels. At first, I attributed it to the mixers going overboard on enveloping the viewer. However, it’s one of those situations where once you hear it, you can’t un-hear it. Paramount has confirmed the issue and has released a statement.

It has come to our attention that there is an English audio encoding error on the new 4K Ultra HD Disc of John Carpenter’s Escape from L.A. Paramount Home Entertainment has corrected the issue and is immediately creating new discs, however the initial shipment of discs has reached some retail outlets. Fans who purchase a disc with a white UPC barcode on the package and would like a replacement should email [email protected] for instructions.  The corrected product will be shipped free of charge. If your disc package has a yellow UPC barcode, then it is the corrected version and you do not need a replacement.

It is always our intention to distribute the highest quality product and we apologize for any inconvenience this error has caused.

Audio Rating: n/a

Escape from L.A. - Georges Corraface

Special Features

Escape from L.A.‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc has the following features on it:

  • Theatrical Trailer
Features Assessment

As you can see from the list above, all you get in this release is the theatrical trailer. It’s a bit disappointing, but it is what it is.

Special Features Rating: 0.5/5 atoms

Overall, John Carpenter’s Escape from L.A. is a lackluster sequel to one of the all-time cult classics, Escape from New York. The video alone is worth the Ultra HD upgrade, but I would wait until the audio issue is fixed.

Overall Rating: 2.5/5 atoms

Escape from L.A. is now available in stores on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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