Jailbreak (2017) (NTSC)
|Year Of Production||2017|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Jimmy Henderson|
|RPI||?||Music||Fabio Guglielmo Anastasi|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||Dolby Digital 5.1 (256Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, extra scene, behind the scenes and outtakes|
When Playboy (Savin Philip), the reputed leader of the Butterflies crime syndicate, is captured by police he denies that he is the leader but offers to reveal the identity of the actual leader of the gang. This does not go down well with the real leader, the sword wielding Madame (Celine Tran), who puts a bounty of $200,000 on Playboy’s head. Playboy is transported to prison by a police team of Dara (Dara Our), Socheat (Dara Phang), female officer Tharoth (Tharoth Sam) and new arrival on secondment from Paris Inspector Jean-Paul (Jean-Paul Ly), who speaks English and French but not Khmer. When they arrive at the prison Playboy is placed in a secure cell, but the word of the bounty has been received by the brutal Bolo (Siriwuud Sisowath) who orchestrates a prison riot and sets free the inmates. Mayhem ensures as the police face off against overwhelming numbers of prisoners on the rampage; can they protect Playboy or, indeed, escape with their lives.
Jailbreak is the work of co-screenwriter / director Jimmy Henderson, a European who has spent over a decade in Cambodia; this is his third Cambodian feature film. There is not a lot of nuance to the plot, and the similarity to films such as The Raid 2 is obvious, and like that film Jailbreak is basically over an hour of continuous, unrelenting, full on, martials arts action. Inside the prison there are no guns; the action here is all hand to hand combat, the Cambodian martial arts technique using hands, feet and elbows is not unlike Muay Thai but is called Bokator. The fights range from mass brawls, to one against many in narrow prison cell corridors, or one on one with, occasionally, the addition of knives, sticks, various implements and at one place a samurai sword. The fights are done without wire work, the camera remaining distant from the action and without quick cutting, so that we see clearly the fighting ability and moves of the main characters.
Jean-Paul Ly is a trained martial artist and stuntman who has worked on mainstream films including Lucy (2014) and Doctor Strange (2016). Many of the other performers in the mass brawls, however, are not trained martial artists so these fights, of which there are a few, are somewhat repetitive and not very inventive. Many of the fights also take place in similar locations, such as the cell block corridors, so they also become somewhat repetitive. Much better are the one-on-one fights where both fighters are professional stuntmen; the fight between Ly and Laurent Plancel, who performed stunts in The Mummy (2017), is probably the best of the lot, intense, athletic and brutal.
Jailbreak is pretty much non-stop mayhem and when it sticks to the action it is exciting. When the fighting stops the deficiencies in the script become noticeable, such as a half-baked love interest and the bickering between a couple of the police team members that feels tacked on. Other pauses work better, such as the scenes with Celine Tran; half French, half Vietnamese, she has a massive 344 credits on the IMDb (mostly under the name Katsuni), was a Penthouse model and porn star but has since gone mainstream and is a hoot in Jailbreak as the samurai sword wielding chief of the Butterflies who is determined to get her man.
Given its low budget Jailbreak may be a bit rough in places and nothing new plot-wise but it makes up for it by enthusiasm and action that is non-stop, intense, energetic, athletic, and not fudged. A Cambodian film is also a novelty!
Jailbreak is presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced, using the NTSC code.
The film is mostly set inside a prison with diffused lighting which, together with the moving handheld cameras and the many fight scenes with fast movements results in a soft looking film. Colours are dull including the blood, blacks and shadow detail acceptable. Skin tones are natural, brightness and contrast consistent except for some glare.
There is some motion blur with movement but otherwise marks and artefacts were not evident.
English subtitles are provided in a pale yellow script. They contain a couple of minor errors such as ‘come one’ instead of ‘come on’ and remain on during the sections of English dialogue. When one character clearly says ‘f***’, in English, the subtitles render it as ‘f**k”!
Audio is Khmer Dolby Digital 5.1 at a low 256 Kbps.
Perhaps due to the low Kbps the audio is not particularly dynamic for a martial arts film. Dialogue is clear but the punches, kicks and impacts sound fairly generic and dull. The surrounds featured yells, impacts and general mayhem during the mass brawls but without much separation. This is not a film with car crashes or explosions; the sub-woofer provided some support for the impacts but was barely noticeable.
The score by Fabio Guglielmo Anastasi did not have a lot to do.
Lip synchronisation was fine.
|Surround Channel Use|
The programme starts when the disc is loaded. There are no extras of any kind.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This Region 2 / 4 NTSC release of Jailbreak is the only one listed on Amazon.com.
I don’t know how many Cambodian films have got a release in this country – I certainly have never reviewed one, until now. Jailbreak is certainly a bit rough around the edges, but the combination of unrelenting, well-staged hand to hand fight scenes without quick editing showing martial artists doing their thing will be a winner for fans of films like The Raid.
The video and audio are acceptable. No extras.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|