With the success of the Steve McQueen film Papillon it should be expected that Roger Corman and brother Gene would put out a low budget knock off to capitalize on the formers success.
Signing up is football star Jim Brown and the dependable Christopher George for this rather nasty effort from the Corman stable and director William Witney.
The film opens with both Brown and George already imprisoned and Brown narrowly saved from the guillotine. As he is struggling with his captors throughout the film, George is screaming for unity and hoping that both prisoners and the guards can live together peacefully. Fat chance. This is an exploitation flick where we need plenty of violence and full frontal nudity.
It isn’t long before George’s rallying of the prisoners lands him in hot water and the opportunity to spend “a night in the box.” Brown feels indebted to his fellow inmate and busts him out.
As the title says, there is an escape so we can expect our two stars joined by character actor James Luisi attempt to flee the island of the title. The guards led by their commandant Paul Richards take up the pursuit. I’ll assume you noticed the film poster has a shark on it so you shouldn’t be surprised then if one of our escapees gets torn to shreds by one of those giants you see during shark week on Discovery. Care to guess which one? I know…….too easy.
As for the full frontal nudity I mentioned, I wasn’t kidding. Luckily the boys are taken in by a native tribe that has a female member quite taken with our football hero. Voila! Roger Corman sneaks some T & A in again for the drive in crowd. Roger has never been shy about borrowing from other successful films and just like Papillon we get a village of Lepers minus Anthony Zerbe and the cigar scene.
With plenty of fireworks and bloodshed down the stretch it’s just a matter of whether or not our two convicts that don’t always like each other can evade the guards and make there way to a coastal village with outgoing ships.
This one is strictly drive in fare that both actors were known to appear in. Brown for me will always remain a member of The Dirty Dozen and George for the most part had a likeable bad ass presence in everything from westerns to war films before his early death.
If it wasn’t for a recent release as a four pack on DVD from Shout Factory this is one of those titles that I thought I’d never see. I knew it was out there with a cool poster and equally cool sounding title. Really at the end of the day, that’s all there is to recommend it.