Underworld moneyman Playboy (Savin Philip) has been arrested forced to do the perp walk in front of the T.V. cameras. Facing a lengthy sentence in Prei Klaa maximum security prison he's agreed to flip spilling the beans on his business partner Butterfly Gang leader Madame Butterfly (Celine Tran). Wanting the threat eliminated the gang leader sets up a multiple pronged plan to take him out before he can testify starting from holding, on the road to the prison then if need be in the prison itself. An elite team of police officers skilled at Cambodian Bokator Dara (Dara Our) Socheat (Dara Phang) and national female MMA champion Tharoth (Tharoth Sam) are joined by visiting French Cambodian officer (Jean Paul Ly) are assigned to bring Playboy safety to the prison.
Once inside the walls gang contact Bolo (Sisowath Siriwudd) fakes a realistic looking seizure that get sets in motion the Butterfly Gangs Plan C to get to Playboy with the added consequence of setting off a full blown prison riot.
Dara Our and Jean Paul Ly also serve as the fight choreographers for the film. The pair whip up elaborate complex intricate moves in tight quarters using mainly baton, knives and blunt object as weapons. Director Jimmy Henderson camerawork flowing from one to the next police officer as they each battle 5 or 6 inmates heightens the battle. The odd switch to the point of view of an inmate is thrown in giving the viewer the feel of being on the wrong end of a first person shooter video game. The visuals work well with the work of the sound mixing team isolating and amplifying the thuds of fist or blunt objects hitting bone plus the swish of knives as they cut through the air or flesh.
Henderson who's previous film Hanuman that also started Savin Philip has made his last three films in Cambodia making him possibly the man that will lead a resurgence of the countries movie business. Jailbreak will undoubtedly be compared with other South East Asian martial arts fests The Raid and Ong Bak but the strengths and originality of its fight scenes will give the piece its on space in the genre.
Jailbreak is a non-stop cat and mouse game between rival gangs, the police and an outside puppet master with a whiney cowardly potential snitch s the prize. Just about all of the production takes place inside at the space of the prison with fighting and retreating occurring as rivals turn each corner. The story and action are raw mainly because the bulk of the cast are amateurs but viewers come to this type of a film for the action which Jailbreak exceeds twice over.
*** 1/2 Out of 4.
Jailbreak | Jimmy Henderson | Cambodia | 2017 | 92 minutes.
Tags: Riot, Informant, Crime Boss, Bokator, Police, Prison Guard, Gangs, Canibal, Swat, Baton, Knives, Samurai Sword.