Wearing its straight-to-DVD credentials proudly on its sleeve, Breakout is at times silly, bizarrely plotted and baffling.

But it also proves pretty entertaining, so you can almost forgive the film for its craziness.

I say almost, but the truth is there are simply too many head-scratching moments to give the movie a pass, especially when you consider it is, somewhat bizarrely, scripted by Hunger Games scribe Suzanne Collins.

91rntnPP-mL__SL1500_The film focuses on young mother Jocelyn (American Horror Story’s Alexandra Breckenridge), locked in a bitter custody battle over her two children with abusive ex-husband Dennis (Billy Burke).

After Dennis pulls a few strings in court and gets joint custody, Jocelyn decides she is not going to have any of that, packing up her son and daughter and going on the run.

The family are helped in their quest by the mysterious ‘underground’, a network of do-gooders who ferry people in peril around the nation with a network of safe houses and contacts.

Assigned to the family’s case is Jim (Ray Liotta) and before long we have entered chase movie territory, with Jocelyn and co tracked by Dennis, the FBI and private investigators.

If it all sounds pretty fast-paced, well that’s because it is, with the film barely pausing for breath over its 85-minute running time.

Even so, that truncated length stills throws up plenty of time for a host of ‘what the?’ moments, from characters turning up out of nowhere at oh-so convenient times, far too many twists and turns for its own good, and Jocelyn going from simpering victim to gun-toting hard nut.

Sure, the whole ethos of the film is to look at how far you would go to protect your family, but the whole personality shift just happens to fast to be credible.

In actuality, Breckenridge does a solid job as the damsel in distress, even if she does look too young to have two kids.

Liotta turns in his usual grizzled (but with a heart) schtick, while Burke is nothing more than a cardboard cutout villain.

Directed by Doug Lodato, whose career high point to this date seems to have been as producer on 1999’s Wild Wild West (make of that what you will), keeps things ticking over nicely, although someone really needs to have taken a look at some truly woeful green-screen driving sequences.

But this is a film that could really have been a whole lot better if given a bit more time to breathe, as Breakout does throw up a few interesting plot strands.

For example, who exactly are these ‘underground’ folk? How many of them are there? Why do they do what they do?

Sadly, those questions are pretty much ignored as Lodato races to set up the next perilous scenario or chase sequence.

For that reason, you will never be bored by Breakout – you’ll just think it could have been a whole lot more.

VERDICT: [rating=3]

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.