Cambodia unleashes some martial arts action in the vein of Indonesian hit The Raid with this action thriller.
Playboy, the apparent leader of the Butterfly Gang, has been found guilty of crimes and is set to be sentenced and sent to Prei Klaa Prison. However, while in court, he has made the proclamation that he is not the actual leader of the gang, but rather a mysterious woman. Regardless, a special task force is hired to escort Playboy to Prei Klaa. The selected team includes Dara, an MMA specialist and protégé of team commander Colonel Pros; female Muay Thai fighter Tharoth; Socheat, Dara’s brother-in-arms; and Inspector Ly, a transfer from Paris who has been friends with Pros for years.
However, knowing she is at risk of being found out, Madame Butterfly hired Bolo, one of the most dangerous prisons in Prei Klaa, to find Playboy and kill him. To ensure it goes according to plan, Bolo begins to start a riot and release all the prisoners. When the task force arrives, they put Playboy in a cell and what was supposed to be a simple in-and-out job turns into the fight of their lives as they take on all comers to not only protect Playboy, but save themselves in the process.
This action thriller from Cambodia, the first to be acquired by Netflix from that country, is a great action film that as the typical story but has an emphasis on its action. Director Jimmy Henderson, an Italian-born British filmmaker, broke ground in Cambodia with his first few films, Run and Hanuman. However, it is this film that would become his breakout film with clear influences in Gareth Evans’ hit film The Raid.
Leading the way are the duo of Jean-Paul Ly and Dara Our, who play transfer officer Inspect Ly and hotheaded MMA-trained officer Dara, who are joined by Tharoth Sam and Dara Phang, who play Tharoth and Socheat. Ly and Our are at first at odds with each other but later realize that they will need each other to survive. The duo also serve as the film’s fight choreographers and Ly even went as far as train the film’s extras, most of whom had no martial arts experience or are even athletes, prior to the film. Tharoth Sam, the only female of the group, looks to be trained and proves herself well in Muay Thai, or perhaps Bokator Khmer.
There are a few notable villains of the film, including Sisowath Siriwudd, who plays Bolo, a notorious and feared prisoner who becomes the catalyst of our heroes going into action. Bolo is very menacing and will not let anyone get in his way of accomplishing his mission. The other big villain comes in the form of Madame Butterfly, played by Celine Tran. Tran brings a mystique to the role, who brings both the mind of a mastermind and yet when it calls for it, Tran does have one fight scene in the film that allows her to showcase her action talents. The fight scenes are truly the stars of the film, with Ly and Our bringing and unloading some great action that make this a great action thriller.
Despite its basic premise, Jailbreak is a rise above thanks to its Raid-inspired martial arts action sequences. Jean-Paul Ly and team showcase some great action talents in this film, which leave room for a potential sequel. Let it happen!
WFG RATING: A-
Westec Media Limited presents a Kongchak Pictures production. Director: Jimmy Henderson. Producer: Loy Te. Writers: Jimmy Henderson and Michael Hodgson. Cinematography: Godefrey Ryckewaert. Editing: Amit Dubey and Jimmy Henderson.
Cast: Jean-Paul Ly, Dara Our, Tharoth Sam, Dara Phang, Celine Tran, Sok Visal, Savin Philip, Sisowath Siriwudd, Laurent Plancel, Rous Mony.