Indie Feature: Breakout (2023)

Plot: Having taken control of a maximum-security prison and recruited the other prisoners as his army, a criminal mastermind and former LAPD explosives expert faces off against a rogue hostage negotiator and a retired Black Ops agent who had been visiting his incarcerated son.

Brandon Slagle is rapidly becoming one of my favourite Indie filmmakers as he can do a lot with a limited budget. Breakout is one of his best films to date as it has a great cast that includes the underrated Louis Mandylor and the late Tom Sizemore in one of his final roles. Breakout is a wonderfully brisk 80 minutes long and doesn’t waste a minute of screentime; it gets to the action quickly giving us regular fight scenes and shoot-outs.

A special mention should be given to Brian Krause who nearly steals the show as the villainous Max Chandler who I admittedly didn’t hate as much as I maybe should and was kind of rooting for him. He’s jaded with the world and even our hero Alex (Mandylor) empathizes with his plight. I do wish Chandler got a bit more of a satisfying payoff though as it’s left a little open… sequel perhaps?

Louis Mandylor has long since proven himself a badass action hero and he’s perfectly cast as black ops specialist Alex who tries to rescue his son when Chandler and his cronies take over the prison he is in. Kristos Andrews plays Alex’s son  Vincent Baros who isn’t especially sympathetic so he as to go through an arc and realize Chandler isn’t as great as he thinks. Father/son relationships always make for an entertaining story and Alex/Vincent have a complicated one; Alex wasn’t there for his boy growing up so understandably Vincent resents him and the pair have to resolve that throughout the film.

It’s clear Brandon Slagle is a fan of old -school action as Breakout is not only described as “Die Hard in a Prison” but the name of said prison is even Val Verde which is of course a nod to the 80’s/90’s action movie universe. It’s definitely time to bring that back as it was such a fun idea…

Overall, what Breakout lacks in budget it makes up for with a great cast, regular action scenes and a memorable villain making it an easy watch and arguably Brandon Slagle’s best film yet.