Jailbreak Poster 1


With action films arriving from all over, we’ve seen Indonesian films, (The Raid, The Night Comes For Us), Thai films, (Ong Bak, Triple Threat), Korean, (The Villainess), Chinese films (Operation Red Sea) and films from the Philippines, (We Will Not Die Tonight, Buybust). But I hadn’t seen anything from Cambodia. Well, now I have, Jailbreak, A fast-paced, if somewhat misnamed film I found on Netflix.

The plot is incredibly simple. Three members of an elite police squad, Dara, (Dara Our), Tharoth, (Tharoth Sam), Sucheat (Dara Phang) and a visiting French officer Jean-Paul (Jean-Paul Ly, 400 Bullets) are assigned to escort a convicted mob boss and possible informant Playboy (Savin Phillip) to prison. Easy right? But the real power behind the gang, Madame Butterfly (Celine Tran, better known as french porn star Katsuni) has no intentions of letting him testify. When all else fails, she offers a bounty to the prison that kills him. Which leads to a massive riot as everyone tries to collect. The cops, plus one surviving guard, have to try to stay alive and keep Playboy alive against overwhelming odds.

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Jailbreak is fairly similar to The Raid in structure. Trap a small group of well-trained cops in a building filled with criminals who want their blood. Director Jimmy Henderson and co-writer Michael Hodgson (The Prey) do mix things up a bit by adding inter-gang violence and a lack of firearms to the script.

The lack of armed guards is one of a few plot details in Jailbreak that had me scratching my head. The other big one was how Madame Butterfly and her all-girl death squad, (none of whom have guns either), are able to just walk into the prison in the final act. So much for reinforcements or security.

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But the fight scenes are what Jailbreak exists for, and it delivers loads of those. Showcasing Bokator a Cambodian martial art that emphasizes the use of knees and elbows, there are endless brawls. Up and down narrow corridors, in small cells and occasionally larger rooms. It’s a near-endless series of fights with improvised weapons, (and the occasional machete), occasionally adding some variety.

Despite its frequent lapses of logic, Jailbreak keeps the action flowing fast enough to keep me from thinking too much about them. The ending seems to set up a sequel, and I’d love to see it happen, just with a bit better writing.

Jailbreak is available on Netflix.

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