Escape from L.A. finds Kurt Russell once again in the role of Snake, which he played in the 1981 film, Escape from New York. Los Angeles has finally had the really big earthquake everyone was afraid of, and what remains is now an island. Because the country's ultra-righteous President-for-Life (Cliff Roberton) wants it that way, all the weirdos and freaks that previously inhabited New York in large numbers, and the rest of the U.S. in smaller concentrations, have been quarantined on the island of L.A. The president has Snake taken from the nice, decent prison he was living in for a special mission in L.A. The president's daughter has joined the resistance movement determined to overthrow his one-man rule, and has stolen his secret "black box" (a doomsday machine) to boot. Snake is given a poison which will kill him in a few hours unless he returns to the president for the antidote. His mission is to recover the black box and kill the president's daughter.