Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Riot (1969)

Synopsis: Gene Hackman, Jim Brown and a cast of real-life cons teach startling lesson that the vast majority of criminals aren’t terribly bright.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “It’s a million-to-one shot. But desperate men always take desperate chances. “

What Did I Learn?: If you’re thinking of busting out of jail, you might want to develop a better plan than to use an old tunnel the warden already knows about.

You Might Like This Movie If: You know there's nothing more fun than a good prison riot. [This is a long, but very interesting - and disturbing documentary]

Really?: 1) I’m a little confused: how much of the prison is actually controlled by the inmates, and how much by the guards? Brown and others walk unmolested into areas where other prisoners have no idea what’s going on. I’m pretty sure that in real life, they would have been locked-down lickity-split. 2) I had a bit of trouble believing Red (Hackman) and Cully (Brown) would bring Surefoot along, considering he tried to kill Cully and the hostages twice already. 3) So wait, there are a zillion armed guards along the main wall, and the big plan is to emerge through a hole into a parking lot on the other side and hope nobody notices?

Rating: Riot is an enjoyable, yet highly contrived vehicle for Hackman and Brown, who shows some decent acting skills and had the potential to become a much bigger star than he turned out to be. Not a bad flick for a Sunday afternoon if you want to put your brain on ‘pause’ for 97 minutes. 6.5/10 stars.

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