Nobody did cynical like John Carpenter in his early work which explains Snake Plissken: the coolest anti-hero this side of Dirty Harry.
Escape From New York was made in the early 80s and set in the late 90s. The view of what life would be like almost twenty years after the film was made says a lot about John Carpenter and the pessimism of the time. New York's 1997 is a bleak place full of war, crime and dodgy fashions. But at least they didn't have to deal with Tony Blair becoming PM.
New York is one giant prison with the simple rule of once you go in, you don't come out. When the President's plane is hijacked and crashes in New York, the authorities offer war hero turned criminal Snake Plissken a choice: go in and get the President for a full pardon or go in and stay there. Of course, Snake goes after the President, kills lots of people, meets Ernest Borgnine, Harry Dean Stanton and Adrienne Barbeau's cleavage and so on. While some of it has understandably dated, its attitude and power are still as strong as ever. The cast (particularly Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef and Issac Hayes) are all superb, and the overall mood hasn't been beaten since. There's some decent bonus stuff on the dvd, but the film itself is the real reason to own this.
I hear rumours of a remake, but sod that. If you want to see how the future could have been and meet the man with the eyepatch, Escape From New York is a must.