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Toughest movie prisons to escape from

Writer: Casey Lee


We'd like to see how Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone try to hatch an "Escape Plan" for these prisons.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone find themselves being part of an experiment to foil the most elaborate prison design in "Escape Plan", we think that prison planners need to do some homework by watching movies in which their prison concepts failed. After all, a prison is only good in movies if it seems impenetrable, but ultimately has a loophole that can be exploited after much strategizing by the protagonists, which in turn gives the audience satisfaction, so we even included suggestions on how these prisons can be broken out of as well.


The Hotel Room in "Oldboy" (2003)

In Park Chon-wook's "Oldboy", businessman Oh Dae-su is kidnapped and locked inside a hotel room with minimum amenities where he eats nothing but dumplings, watches nothing but news and boxes with nobody but his shadow. A hotel room may not be the most debilitating place to be confined in, but when faced with questions of why you are being kept in there for 15 years without any explanation whatsoever, it will drive you insane.

Suggested Escape Plan: Stay sane by training (preferably with a hammer), so that when you are released without reason on a rooftop, you can have your revenge.


The Pit in "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)

Sometimes the easiest way to build an inescapable prison is to just dig a deep hole and throw someone in it. After having his back broken by Bane, Bruce Wayne is thrown into a pit somewhere in the Middle East where the inmates say weird chants, climb lots of rope and have an in-house chiropractor to mend your broken back just so that you can break it again. The pit in Christopher Nolan's finale to the Dark Knight trilogy in "The Dark Knight Rises" is as old-fashioned and simple a concept of a prison as it can get, but it's also the one of the most effective ones because the only way out is the only way in.

Suggested Escape Plan: Other than having a metaphorical relationship to the act of 'rising' out of the darkness (very subtle, Mr. Nolan), you probably just need good rope climbing skills and an unbreakable back. Unless, of course, you are the Batman.


The Prison Experiment in "The Experiment" (2010)

Based on a real and controversial psychological experiment, a group of volunteers are hired to take part in an experiment by enacting a prison scenario; with one group acting as the inmates and the other as the prison wardens. With just a few rules that once broken would end of the experiment and no one gets paid for their hard work, Paul T. Scheuring's remake of "The Experiment" is a way of telling us that we all like to humiliate, torture and brutalize our fellow human beings when given a stick and they are locked in a cage, for fun perhaps.

Suggested Escape Plan: Come to the conclusion that only mad scientists would do something this crazy in the name of science and start a prison break.


New York in "Escape From New York" (1981)

As the crime rate rises to alarming levels, the United States government in John Carpenter's seminal "Escape From New York" decide that the best way to put criminals behind bars is to turn the entire city of New York into a maximum security prison, with guards patrolling the high walls and nothing else in between. Naturally, the only reason why someone like Snake Plissken gets sent into the hellhole is because the President's plane gets shot down and is captured by the inmates, who demand full pardons or it's going to be "White House Down" all over again, except with an eye-patched Kurt Russell.

Suggested Escape Plan: Make friends with the local cab drivers (useful when crossing minefields) and have timed explosives injected into your bloodstream for added incentive, if the prison gangs and underground mutants don't get to you first.


Crematoria in "The Chronicles Of Riddick" (2004)

A healthy way of living the prison life is to make sure that you get some exercise out there in the sun every once in a while. Unless of course you have the bad luck of being assigned to Crematoria in David Twohy's "The Chronicles Of Riddick", because stepping out there when the sun is up is akin to being microwaved or barbequed.

Suggested Escape Plan: Piss off the leader of an intergalactic, world-destroying army so bad that he actually sends a spacecraft with bounty hunters to kill you instead of leaving nature to do the work. You also need superhuman cardio in order to outrun the sun.

Cinema Online, 09 October 2013



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