Sometimes a good old fashion double feature is just what the doctor ordered, be it at theatre or in the comfort of your own home. Now on Blu-Ray, the double feature of "I Escaped From Devil's Island/The Final Option" is a straight up double dose of action fun that may not be of the highest grade, but it is a ton of fun.
"I Escaped From Devil's Island" takes us to the world's most notorious prison colony where two tougher than nails inmates (Jim Brown & Christopher George) are sentenced to life. With little options they band together to plan the ultimate jail break, however they quickly find out that trying to survive in the outside world is every bit as hellish as it inside even the worst of slammers.
From legendary producer Roger Corman, "I Escaped From Devil's Island" is pure pulp, grind house action in the truest sense of the word.
With a basic narrative and plot, this is one is all about the action, the sex and the cruelty. As almost no one is wearing a shirt in this straight action flick, it makes sense that a guy like Jim Brown at the height of his powers is blazing a trail for athletes who made the transition into cinema. It's raw, a little corny but exactly what the doctor ordered as this would be at home in a drive-in movie theatre if of course these things actually still existed. It's not high art, but the basic precepts and ideas of good vs. evil and right and wrong come through loud and clear. Brown & George make for decent foils opposite one another as they navigate the ever confusing worlds of both in and outside the prison.
At the end of the day, "I Escaped From Devil's Island" isn't going to light the world on fire but it is a solid little piece of pulp storytelling for those people who like their prison movies filled with blood and sweaty as hell.
2 out of 5 stars.
On the flipside of that coin, "The Final Option" is a solid little politically motivated thriller at a time when the world was in a fair bit of upheaval and people pushed the boundaries a little too far for what they believed in.
Inspired by the real-life operations of actual counter terrorism forces, "The Final Option" is the story of an elite Special Air Services captain (Lewis Collins) takes the ultimate risk when he infiltrates a terrorist organization in order to thwart a plan to take several dignitaries hostage.
In the vein of movies that came before it like "The Day of the Jackal" and "The Odessa File", "The Final Option" counts as a poor man's version of those types of movies but it still works as a solid, gritty piece of espionage action.
Director Ian Sharp is a serviceable hand who does well getting the narrative going from point A to point B and while the acting may not be top drawer, it crackles with a certain current energy and feels at least somewhat important, at least for the time
The acting is solid as Lewis Collins works well as a swagger filled, iron jawed leading man, almost like a British Mark Harmon. The rest of the movie has some familiar faces like Judy Davis and Edward Woodward and it plays like a solid TV movie, without too much cursing or blood and guts and gets across the political leanings and feel of the time.
At the end of the day, "The Final Option" is a solid military/terrorist action piece to put on one lazy Sunday afternoon.
3 out of 5 stars.
"I Escaped From Devil's Island/The Final Option" is now available for purchase from all major retailers.