Breakout (1975)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Escape Film  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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This Charles Bronson vehicle isn't one of the star's more demanding roles, but it's fairly entertaining nonetheless. Breakout is basically a B-movie with A-movie resources: the plot is old fashioned adventure stuff tarted up with a nice budget and some name acting talent like Robert Duvall and John Huston. The script is a bit wobbly -- the finale leaves some loose ends dangling and the film's caricatured treatment of its Mexican villains isn't likely to endear itself to the politically correct -- but it makes up for these flaws with plenty of action and some amusing characters. Bronson gives an energetic, surprisingly comedic performance as the film's hard luck hero and Randy Quaid and Sheree North add a welcome touch of color as his low-rent partners in crime. Duvall and Huston are rather wasted in their limited roles, but their presence lends some added class to the proceedings. Capping it all off is sturdy direction from Tom Gries -- he manages to gloss over the story's simplistic nature by attacking it with vigor and style, especially during the taut prison-break finale. His efforts are furthered nicely by rich, widescreen photography from Lucien Ballard and a rousing, Spanish-tinged score by Jerry Goldsmith. All in all, Breakout probably won't win Charles Bronson any new fans, but his existing fanbase will find it to be a fun if modest diversion.