705. Escape 2000 (1983)

One of those dystopic near future Hells, where the crime-ridden Bronx is scheduled to be demolished to make way for gentrified neighborhoods. As is typical for these sorts of films, there’s never a good reason offered to root for the Designated Heroes. Granted, the construction company isn’t presented in a favorable light thanks to the security forces they contracted evicting the residents at gunpoint. However, the gangs aren’t exactly that great an alternative. It would be one thing if they had some sort of warped civic spirit in the vein of the more romanticized depictions of the Yakuza. But they’re shown to be little more than common marauders. It’s kind of hard to determine who is the lesser evil here.

Their case might have been palatable had bombastic gang leader Dablone been the lead protagonist. Instead, that role goes to lone biker Trash, who has all the personality and charisma of a pile of damp leaves. The presence of the shrill reporter woman who could be best described as Shelley Duvall as Nosferatu doesn’t help. It ends in a gun battle with massive casualties and no clear victor. So really, what was the point?

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I think the point is there is no point to anything and nothing matters and your choices in life are live in the sewer or burn in your crappy apartment.

In that way the movie was ahead of its time.

Too dark?

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Was watching this briefly the other day on the Pluto TV channel. Definitely I need to check out the episode fully sometime.

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or live alone in broad daylight or attend press conferences.

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I always interpreted it as the gangs having been formed as a means of protection, in part from the evil corporate army trying to destroy them.

It does help somewhat if you watch Bronx Warriors (available from Rifftrax). It’s a blatant ripoff of The Warriors (a classic movie referenced in many riffs), but it’s fun to watch, especially riffed.

In the first movie, the gangs have a stable peace. The Ogre is the capo di tutti capi. He lets each gang run their turf their own way, but enforces rules that maintain order and prevent violence. Ann, who is due to inherit the company when she turns 18 (in just a few days), runs away from home. She’s saved by Trash, leader of The Riders gang, who then has to make his way across the Bronx (through the territories of the other gangs) to see The Ogre. But the company has hired an evil mercenary to retrieve Ann and destabilize the gangs.

Spoilers, most of which you can probably guess, having already seen the sequel

Trash makes it to the Ogre in time, but at great cost. Some of his closest friends in the gang are killed along the way, mainly because his second in command has turned traitor. The Hammer (the evil mercenary) kills the Ogre and turns the gangs against each other, and Ann (who by this point had, of course, fallen in love with Trash) is killed in the crossfire, taking a bullet to save Trash’s life.

It’s actually reasonably well done, for what it is.

This movie picks up in the aftermath of that. What’s left of the gangs have retreated underground. Trash has lost everyone he cares about. And the company is working to destroy his home, which is all he’s got left.

The company has completely dehumanized everyone living there. They’re giving false promises of housing in New Mexico, but no one will say what really happens to the people they deport. Anyone who refuses is killed. Trash’s parents are just sitting quietly at home when the company “disinfestation” squad kicks in the door and burns them with flamethrowers.

So… the gangs were better than company rule, and they’re just trying to defend what’s left of their homes after the company already reduced the place halfway to rubble.

But, no. Neither movie has a happy ending.

ETA: The Wiki article on the first movie has a bit of interesting background.

The idea for the film was first envisioned by producer Fabrizio De Angelis when he missed a subway stop for his Manhattan hotel and ended up in dangerous neighbourhood in the Bronx. De Angelis stated he imagined the idea of a futuristic city where young hoods would fight for their home.[4]
1990: The Bronx Warriors was one of the three science fiction films Enzo G Castellari made with producer Fabrizio De Angelis.[5] These films take influence from Mad Max 2 (1981), The Warriors (1979), and Escape From New York (1981).[5] Castellari changed some of De Angelis’ plot ideas while filming, including incorporating more weird gangs such as the roller skating gang.[4] When discussing 1990: The Bronx Warriors, The New Barbarians and Escape from the Bronx, Castellari stated the three films were written prepared and filmed in six months.[6]
Italian regulations required that 50% of a film had to be shot in Italy.[4] To solve this situation, the film was shot on location in the Bronx with interiors shot in Rome.

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It’s a hoot! A movie so complimentary to Mystery Science Theater 3000. You have a face and a name in Henry Silva. The idea of this is so insane and they run with it. The Italian sensibility applied to America opens the floodgates to every kind of riffing. The flame retardant uniforms, the heightened jumping using trampolines, the burning of people alive, the movie tries and tries and its failures make it surefire joking material.

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I really like this episode. One of my favorites from season 7 (top 6, easy). This kind of action sci fi film is great for riffing, and this is no exception. I have not seen this one much, but recall having a lot of fun with it. It is actually coming up on my watch list soon (I am mid season 6 right now). Timmy Bobby Rusty and Toblerone in the host segments kick the whole episode up a notch.

I am really looking forward to watching this one again soon.

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I like this one alot. Season 7 is a hidden gem! Blood Beast, Deathstalker, Laserblast. All gems! This one is dominated by the awesomeness that is Dablone! Antonio Sabato Sr. played this role to the max! Such a fun character, and fun, riffable characters make Mst what it is! The only negative about this movie is the awful color. It’s so drab.

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If you don’t like the color, maybe you should leave the Bronx.

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I will never tire of them adding ‘hissing’ sounds when the vampire-lady is on screen.

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It’s breathtaking Technicolor compared to San Francisco International.

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Filmed in exquisite pain-o-rama!

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@optiMSTie A slowly rising fan favorite of MST3K? This is almost a Season 7 Cave Dwellers (1984) for many people.

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I think what helps to drive this one up in MSTies’ opinions is a strong central recurring gag of “LEAVE THE BRONX!”

There’s plenty of good stuff here, even as it feels like the movie meanders here and there. Action-y stuff does add some fuel and gives the riffers something to bounce off of, making those moments the strongest parts of the episode.

It’s tough for me to gauge where that sits overall, because Season 7 as a whole is consistently strong stuff. Its presence on Twitch showings certainly gives it an advantage that The Incredible Melting Man can’t enjoy due to its lack of streaming rights.

Another big help? TOBLERONE. Like Mikey from Teen-Age Strangler, he doesn’t have a pronounced presence in the movie, but when he DOES show up? Magic. My favorite parts of the episode are where they have fun with one of MST3K’s larger-than-life characters (“We’re getting a big slab of Toblerone here!”).

Is it perhaps cheating that they misinterpret the name “Dablone” as “Toblerone”? I AIN’T CARE, IT WORKS, DANG IT.

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Reporter Nosferatu is another secret spice. That hissing is classic!

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I’ll co-sign that!

Also also, having Henry Silva as the villain helped to give this one the WOW factor.

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