Seriously… what ever happened to Brendan Fraser? After “Furry Vengeance”, he more or less disappeared. How bad could that movie have been?? Honestly… now I really want to find out. But in any event, the guy was in some pretty big films and then *poof* he’s banished to straight-to-videoland. Well, I actually don’t mind the him… and I’m a sucker for comebacks; I want to see a Brendan Fraser revival, damn it! Well, on 9/17 “Breakout” hits DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The dramatic actioner, which was also produced by Fraser could be the first step towards bringing my hopes to fruition. Or… maybe not.
The story is a little like if “Deliverance” and “The River Wild” had a baby. Brendan Fraser plays Jack, a man who loves his kids so much, he devotes his life to saving trees after his daughter asks why the forest is being torn down. Of course like all kids, as she gets older, she begins to resent daddy. This might be in part due to Jack getting arrested after a protest causing significant strain to his marriage. In the meantime, the kids, Jen (Holly Deveaux) and Mikey (Christian Martyn) are brought camping by a family friend. When they decide to go kayaking, the kids witness a murder in the woods. Unfortunately the killer, Tommy Baxter (Dominic Purcell), has also seen them. Accompanied by his mentally challenged little brother (Ethan Suplee) and carrying an enormous chip on his shoulder, Tommy sets off to kill the witnesses at whatever the cost. Luckily, Jack is getting out of prison soon and his work permit puts him right in the very woods where his children’s lives are in danger! If you can be sure of anything it’s that you don’t mess with Jack’s trees and you sure as hell don’t mess with his family. Game on.
So honestly, “Breakout” isn’t the Fraser comeback I’d hoped for. It isn’t even close. He may be the headlining name on the box cover, but his performance is wooden and uninspired. Matters certainly aren’t helped by a lackluster script that’s so full of plotholes, you wouldn’t even dare to go off-roading on it. Ethan Suplee is just plain embarrassing, twisting and turning like a worm on a hook as he reads a comic. I’m not sure Kirk Lazarus would deem the performance “full retard”, but it’s gotta be at least 5/8ths of the way there. In all fairness, many of the characters are annoying to the point that Sir Lawrence Olivier wouldn’t be able to redeem them and that falls squarely on the shoulders of Director/Co-Writer Damian Lee. Only an “auteur” would direct such a flawed screenplay without being able to see the forest for the trees. The only case where the performance is strong enough to throw some ketchup over the character as written is with Dominic Purcell. The guy is ice cold and just disappears into the role.
Per usual, Sony delivers another great looking DVD, but for them that’s par for the course. The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track is well done, too. Ambient noises from the woods float from channel to channel, while music builds and swells in engulfing crescendos. The dialogue comes clearly through the center clear as a bell. The disc has no extras, but you can watch the film in Thai or Portuguese if the traditional English or Spanish aren’t your style.
“Breakout” scores a 1 out of 4 angels. Despite a trying-too-hard vibe and the tendency for the players to overact, it isn’t the worst straight to DVD movie I’ve seen. That said, it’s nothing you have to rush out and see, unless you really want to watch Ethan Suplee bumble around and stutter endlessly. That’s got to be worth something…