Director: Mak Ho Pong
Cast: Patrick Tam, Ron Ng, Kenny Wong, Justin Cheung, Adam Pak, Moses Chan
Runtime: 1 hr 27 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Violence)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Opening Day: 30 June 2022
Synopsis: Ex-warden Tang (Kenny Wong) is sent to prison because of corruption whereas Jun (Ron Ng) is sent back for a jail sentence due to the failure of a breakout. Jun then enticed Tang to help with another breakout as he was familiar with the structure of the prison. They schemed to make Big Roller (Patrick Tam) the fall guy in order for their plan to be successful. However, Jun found out that Tang played a trick on him so he is forced to turn his coat to Big Roller, Mak (Adam Pak) and the new Warden Ma (Moses Chan) to disclose Tang’s conspiracy for their safety.
Barely six months after a sequel which no one asked for, the team behind the middling prison drama ‘Breakout Brothers’ is back with the concluding chapter of the unlikeliest trilogy in recent Hong Kong cinema.
Those who had seen the last movie will remember that it ended on a cliffhanger with the wicked prison warden Tang (Kenny Wong) being convicted of bribery and sentenced to 10 years in prison behind the same bars that he used to run as his own kingdom.
As we learn from the start, Tang has been kept in solitary confinement by the new warden Ma (Moses Chan) for his own good, given how the other prisoners would naturally have their grudges to bear against his tyrannical rule previously.
Not surprisingly, Tang is the mastermind behind the obligatory breakout in this instalment, plotting with the previous movie’s antagonist Ho Chun (Ron Ng) to set up those likely to stand in their way, especially Big Roller (Patrick Tam) and Scar (Justin Cheung).
To say more would probably ruin the plot for those keen to learn how it all ends, not least since Big Roller no longer has the benefit of two of his closest buddies Chan Ho-ching (Louis Cheung) and Mak Kin-tin (Adam Pak) from the earlier movies to watch his back, both of whom have been released from prison after seeing their sentences shortened for good behaviour.
Suffice to say that screenwriter Edmond Wong conjures a more compelling prison break premise here than in the last movie, and that director Mak Ho-pong uses the best of what certainly would be a limited budget, staging a hostage situation in the final act to cap things off. Compared to its predecessor too, this one has a more engaging pace, and at under one-and-a-half hours, does not overstay its welcome.
As with the previous two movies, it is the cast that elevate the material. Tam excudes charisma aplenty as the ‘big brother’ of the prison, now reformed and giving sagely advice to the other prisoners, including the hot-headed Scar. Cheung rewards the time given to flesh out Scar’s backstory with his most poignant performance in the series yet. Wong is utterly convincing as the baddie, while erstwhile TVB stars Ng and Chan bring their trademark panache to their respective supporting acts.
Frankly, there are both better and worse ways to spend your time than with ‘Breakout Brothers 3’; and yet, those who still yearn for a good-old Hong Kong film will find some satisfaction with this unassuming entry. The end credits tease prequels for the key characters, and the fact that we’re willing to see one on Big Roller and Scar respectively is a reflection of the modest success that the filmmakers have pulled off. So as long as you’re simply looking for a mild diversion, you’ll enjoy it for what it’s worth.
(Unnecessary yet not unwelcome, this concluding chapter to an unlikely trilogy is an entertaining diversion whose best pleasure is its charismatic cast)
Review by Gabriel Chong