|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2015)|
Plissken escorted by United States Police Force officers at Liberty Station base in Escape from New York.
|First appearance||Escape from New York|
|Last appearance||Escape from L.A.|
|Created by||John Carpenter
|Portrayed by||Kurt Russell|
S.D. Bob "Snake" Plissken is a fictional character from the films Escape from New York and Escape from L.A. where he is the protagonist. He is portrayed by Kurt Russell, and created by director John Carpenter and screenwriter Nick Castle. He is a former Special Forces operator/war hero in World War III turned criminal. The movies follow his apprehension by the United States Police Force and subsequent conscription to extract top-secret material from New York City and Los Angeles — which have, in this dystopian setting, been converted entirely into maximum-security prisons.
- 1 Fictional biography
- 2 Appearances
- 3 Cancelled projects
- 4 Future appearances
- 5 References in other media
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Snake Plissken is a former U.S. Army Lieutenant, serving under Special Forces Unit Black Light stated by Hauk in Escape from New York, with two Purple Hearts, and the youngest soldier to be decorated by the U.S. President for bravery during campaigns in Leningrad and Siberia in World War III against the Former Soviet Alliances and Eurasian United War Union.
Some time later, he turned to a life of crime due to the perceived betrayal of the United States government during the "Leningrad Ruse" (when he lost the use of his left eye) and when his parents were burned alive in their home by the United States Police Force—events described in the Escape from New York novelization by Mike McQuay. He traveled with his war buddy and only friend, Bill Taylor. Snake took up with partners Harold Hellman (later known as "Brain") and Fresno Bob. In Kansas City around 1993, Hellman apparently let Plissken and Fresno Bob get cornered by police, at which time Fresno Bob was brutally tortured and killed by sadistic law enforcers within the United States Police Force.
As a result of the Kansas City incident, it was widely believed in the criminal community that Plissken was dead. This is a running gag in Escape from New York: "I heard you were dead" (an homage to the John Wayne film Big Jake). In Escape from L.A., the recurring joke is changed to "I thought you'd be taller."
Snake has a tattoo of a cobra on his abdomen. Snake Plissken is a practitioner of several styles of martial arts that include Karate, Taekwondo, Shaolin Kung-Fu, Kenpo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Krav maga & Jeet Kune Do.
Snake is shown as being very cynical, most likely due to the hypocrisy of the U.S. government, and appears to be willing to do anything to survive. He is short and stern in his speech, and holds nothing sacred or even important. He does, however, hold a loose code of honor.
Escape from New York
Snake was arrested in 1997 after breaking into the U.S. Federal Reserve in Denver, Colorado. He was sentenced to life in New York maximum security prison —that is, the entire island of Manhattan, surrounded by an impenetrable wall, and then abandoned to fall into anarchy. At this time, Air Force One was hijacked and crashed into Manhattan, and the President, played by Donald Pleasence, was captured by the "Duke of New York" (Isaac Hayes), the de facto leader of the prisoners. Bob Hauk (Lee Van Cleef), the New York Police Commissioner, offered Snake a full pardon for every criminal action he had committed in the United States if he would go in and rescue the President. The President carried technical information that would allow the USA to be the dominant world power, but in 24 hours it would become useless. Hauk enforced the time limit by implanting microscopic explosive capsules in Plissken's carotid arteries, which would detonate at the deadline. Plissken rescued the President with the help of Harold Hellman (Harry Dean Stanton) (now known as Brain, and working for the Duke of New York), Brain's "squeeze" Maggie (Adrienne Barbeau), and a taxicab driver nicknamed Cabby (Ernest Borgnine). Only Plissken and the President survived their escape. As the President began his broadcast speech, Plissken walked away, deliberately shredding the time-critical information tape.
The Adventures of Snake Plissken
In January 1997, Marvel Comics released the one-shot The Adventures of Snake Plissken. The story takes place sometime between Escape from New York and before his famous Cleveland escape mentioned in Escape from L.A. Snake has robbed Atlanta's Center for Disease Control of some engineered metaviruses and is looking for buyers in Chicago. Finding himself in a deal that's really a set-up, he makes his getaway and exacts revenge on the buyer for ratting him out to the United States Police Force. In the meantime, a government lab has built a robot called A.T.A.C.S. (Autonomous Tracking And Combat System) that can catch criminals by imprinting their personalities upon its program in order to predict and anticipate a specific criminal's every move. The robot's first test subject is America's public enemy number one, Snake Plissken. After a brief battle, the tide turns when A.T.A.C.S. copies Snake to the point of fully becoming his personality. Now recognizing the government as the enemy, A.T.A.C.S. sides with Snake. Unamused, Snake destroys it. As A.T.A.C.S. shuts down, it can only ask him, "Why?" Snake just walks off answering, "I don't need the competition".
John Carpenter's Snake Plissken Chronicles
Snake Plissken appeared in John Carpenter's Snake Plissken Chronicles, a four-part comic book miniseries released in 2003 that was published by CrossGen comics and Hurricane Entertainment. The story takes place the morning after the events in Escape from New York. Snake has been given a military Humvee after his presidential pardon and makes his way to Atlantic City. Despite the fact the director's cut of the New York movie shows Snake was caught after a bank job, this story has Snake finishing up a second heist that was preplanned before his capture. The job is stealing the car JFK was assassinated in from a casino and then delivering it to a buyer on a yacht in the gulf. The job involves Snake's partnership with a man named Marrs who ends up double crossing him. Left for dead in a sinking crab cage, Snake escapes and is luckily saved by a passing fisherman named Captain Ron. When Ron denies Snake's request to use his boat in order to beat Marrs to the robbery, Snake decides to kill him. But when he ends up saving Ron from a Russian mob wanting money, Ron changes his mind and helps Snake. Once at the casino, Snake comes face to face with Marrs and his men who arrive at the same time, ending in a high speed shoot out. Snake gets away with the car and its actress portraying Jackie Kennedy, leaving Marrs to be caught by the casino owner who cuts him a deal to bring his car back and live. After some trouble, Snake manages to finally get the car to the buyer's yacht with Ron's boat and is then attacked by Marrs. Following the fire fight the yacht and car are destroyed, Marrs and Captain Ron are dead, and Snake makes his escape in a helicopter with the 30 million credits owed to him for the job. The series is written by William O'Neill, penciled by Tone Rodriguez and edited by Jan Utstein-O'Neill.
Escape from L.A.
Sixteen years since his escape from New York, Snake is once again enlisted for a similar situation, as the story begins with a similar plotline as was used in Escape from New York. This time, Snake is forced to retrieve a disk for a remote control which controlled a series of EMP style satellites. These devices are positioned around the entire world. The disk was somewhere in Los Angeles. The city had separated from the mainland due to an earthquake in August 2000 and had become an island separate from the United States which had become a totalitarian theocratic police state. Snake had to retrieve a black box which the President's (Cliff Robertson) daughter, Utopia (A.J. Langer), went into LA with. The President says he doesn't care if she is returned or killed, she is a traitor to his country. Snake initially refuses but once injected with the plutoxin 7 virus - which will lead to his death in ten hours - he agrees. Snake retrieves the box and seemingly returns it to the President; however, when the President attempts to activate it, he learns it is not the real box. Snake reveals that he switched the box with a fake, and promptly uses the code "666" to "wipe out all technology" in the world.
Escape From Mars
A potential third Snake Plissken film entitled Escape from Mars had a script with largely the same story as the other two films, but after Escape from L.A. failed to make enough money at the box office the studio did not wish to make another Plissken move. Snake Plissken was then changed to Desolation Williams (the studio also insisted that Ice Cube played him) and the film became Ghosts of Mars (which was critically panned). One thing to note is that Desolation's clothes in Ghosts of Mars are similar to Snake's.
In the early 2000s, John Carpenter, Kurt Russell, and Debra Hill developed a proposed Snake Plissken television series that was ultimately turned down by all the major networks for being "too dark and bleak."
Along with the comic book, other Snake Plissken Chronicles projects were announced. A Namco-produced video game was announced, but was later cancelled possibly due to the death of Debra Hill. Production I.G was also set to create an anime film based on the property, reportedly based on the Escape From Earth concept John Carpenter and Kurt Russell had conceived, but this also never materialized. Carpenter and Russell would have executive produced, and Russell would have provided the voice and likeness of Snake.
Escape from Earth
This was a proposed second sequel often mentioned by Carpenter and Russell in interviews prior to the release of Escape From L.A. The concept was that Earth was the only place left for Plissken to escape. After Escape From L.A. failed to attract much business, the project never materialized.
Escape from New York (remake)
As of June 2008, a rumor has been circulating that the project is proceeding with Josh Brolin as Snake Plissken. However, the project ended up being in development hell. In 2010, according to New York Magazine, plans are back on track after a new rewrite from Allan Loeb, the writer responsible for the Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps script.
References in other media
- In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Solid Snake names himself "Iroquois Pliskin" upon meeting with Raiden for the first time, Iroquois being a word meaning "Snake."
- In Duke Nukem 64 on Level 3 (The Death Row) it is possible to find the mutilated body of Snake Plissken. Upon doing so Duke lightly mutters "I guess he didn't escape from L.A."
- In Contra ReBirth, the humanoid snake-like character Pliskin is a homage to Snake Plissken. What's more, he makes a similar speech to the one Snake makes at the end of the film, refraining from killing his employer because he was 'too tired'.
- In the music video "New Lands" by electronic artist Justice, Snake Plissken can be seen leading a 'young' team against the 'pros' in a sport that is a combination of football, baseball, roller derby, and others. Snake scores the winning point at the end of the game. (Released July 2012. Directed by Canada. Music by Justice.)
- Hoss Delgado, a minor recurring character in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, is a parody of Snake Plissken and Ash from Army of Darkness.
- Snake Plissken is on the cover of the 2004 thrash metal EP, Tango and Thrash.
- In Super Robot Wars, there is a character named Ingram Prisken, which is often believed to be named after Snake Plissken.
- In the comic "Deadpool Merc with a Mouth", issue 12, Snake Plisskin is referenced, as the main characters are making their way over the debris of a destroyed New York.
- Snake is a playable character in the game Broforce. Plisskin is referred to as Snake Broskin.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode It's About Time, Twilight Sparkle appears to herself from the future, dressed with an eye-patch, head scarf, spiky hair, and tattered black clothes, and strongly resembling Plissken.
- "WWSPD" ("What would Snake Plissken do?") arose in 2015 as a derivation of the popular "What would Jesus do?"-spawned line of memes. It is often accompanied by a logo involving either Russell-as-Snake scowling, or a parodied "religious fish" wearing an eyepatch.
- Carlbert, Michelle. "Kurt Russell Talks About Shooting ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK at the EW CapeTown Film Fest; Plus His Thoughts on the Remake". Collider.
- IGN: New Snake Game
- Production IG working on Escape from New York Anime - Anime News Network
- Ain't It Cool News
- IGN: Kurt Blasts Escape Remake
- edmontonsun.com - Showbiz: Movies, TV and Theatre - Snake Plissken hissing over Escape From New York remake
- NEWS RUSSELL ENRAGED WITH NEW SNAKE PLISSKEN Music, movie & Entertainment News