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DVD roundup: Classic ‘Escape’ features Russell’s growling Snake

Rick Bentley Tribune News Service

Pickings are slim for new DVDS this week.

• “Escape from New York” (Collector’s Edition) , A-minus: The fact that this movie gave the film world the character of Snake Plissken (played with growling style by Kurt Russell ) is reason enough to own this film. Snake is as tough as the Terminator and as sarcastic as Han Solo.

In the 1981 film by John Carpenter, the island of Manhattan has been converted into a walled prison where brutal prisoners can go wherever they want. That’s not a good thing when the plane carrying the president (Donald Pleasence) crashes there.

Snake is the only man who can brave the island and get the president back, but he’s been given only 24 hours to accomplish the mission. If he doesn’t, he’ll lose his head.

This action-packed adventure works just as well today.

Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes, Harry Dean Stanton and Adrienne Barbeau also star.

• “Tour of Duty: The Complete Series,” B: Terence Knox heads a strong cast in this late-’80s series about a U.S. Army platoon during the Vietnam War. Look at it as the male answer to “China Beach.”

Long before current TV shows started using the idea that major characters didn’t have to be protected, “Tour of Duty” took a very honest and often painful look at the lives and deaths of those in service.

Set includes 58 episodes covering three seasons.

• “Naked & Afraid: Season 1,” F: Television has long had huge areas of wasteland, but this cable series is one of the most scorched earth efforts to come along.

It’s one thing to put people in survival situations with limited resources, which can be educational. The addition of the naked element only fosters more potential for injury or illness.

There’s a dose of masochism in offering this show as entertainment. It’s only worth is showing just how miserable and sickening TV can get.

Also new on DVD

“Cake”: Jennifer Aniston plays a woman looking for human connection and self-forgiveness.

“Bleaching Black Culture”: Explores the African-American influence on culture.

“Taken 3”: Liam Neeson plays a man who goes on one last journey for revenge.

“The Marine 4: Moving Target”: Mike “The Miz” Mizanin returns to role of American hero Jake Carter.

“Fortitude”: Dark drama set in the melting Arctic. Stanley Tucci stars.

“Dinosaur Train: Explore Outdoors!”: Features eight nature-themed adventures.

“Musketeers, The Season 2”: Swashbuckling series from BBC America.

“Supremacy”: Danny Glover stars in this story of a family taken hostage by a paroled white supremacist.

“Ghoulies & Ghoulies II”: Double feature with goblins who crawl out of toilets.

“Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo”: Street dancers look to earn some respect in this double feature.

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Complete Series”: Four postal workers become a team of dead letter detectives.

“The Walking Deceased”: A world where the dead are smarter than the living.

“Deep in the Darkness”: Quiet town is harboring dark secrets. Based on the book by Michael Laimo.

“Yukon Men Season 3”: The battle against the elements continues in Tanana, Alaska.

“What’s Happening: The Complete Series”: Includes 65 episodes of the comedy starring Fred Berry and Shirley Hemphill.

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