Never did get on with this one as well as The Dark Knight, but Chris Nolan’s reboot/reimagining is still an impressive work – just too much of that ‘Massively Extended Trailer’ feel that spoiled The Departed for me, lots of canonical touchstones linked together with minor episodes that jump all over the shop.
Performance-wise difficult to fault: from Bale to Neeson to Oldman to Caine, pretty much everyone steps up. Not keen on Katie Holmes, but then her lines didn’t give her much to work with.
Fairly silly big house melodrama from John Flynn, who peaked in the mid-70s with The Outfit and Rolling Thunder.
Here he pits heart-of-gold, non-violent, caught-in-the-wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time con Sylvester Stallone – currently on work furlough out of a minimum security joint and nearly at the end of his sentence – against wild-eyed, venal prison warden Donald Sutherland (seemingly on imponderably large quantities of crack), who has him transferred to his own hellish gaol with a view to breaking his spirit over some shit or other that happened years ago.
There’s some of the usual heart-warming male bonding once Sly befriends some of the less obviously evil inmates, like wide-eyed Tom Sizemore, or car-repairing Frank McRae. There’s also the REALLY OBVIOUSLY EVIL inmates, like Sonny Landham, who along with his gang is very much on top of the prison rape/murder trope quotas all such films are saddled with.
Some silly stuff happens. Sutherland delivers some silly lines even worse than Stallone. Stallone leaves prison. FIN.